Times of Oman
Nov 28, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 03:03 AM GMT
When insecurity overwhelmed
September 26, 2013 | 12:00 AM

She was so beautiful he couldn't take his eyes off her. In the hubbub of the crowded departure lounge of Australia's Sydney International Airport 33-year-old businessman Patrick Joiner was transfixed by the dark-haired girl calmly processing his ticket and handing back his travel documents with a smile.

In that moment, on a wet Wednesday in July 1997, Patrick Joiner had seen the girl he wanted to marry and he knew nothing would change his mind.

Nor was he deterred by the fact that the airline girl dealing with hundreds of passengers every day was almost certainly unaware of his existence. To 27-year-old Mary Seretis he would be nothing more than a business-class ticket to Singapore.

If that was the case, Patrick Joiner was determined to change it. Finding a sheet of paper in his briefcase he wrote: "Thank you for brightening my day", returned to the departure desk and pressed the paper into her hand.

During her break after the Singapore flight had departed, Mary showed the note to her friend and workmate Jodie Plum. "What was he like?" asked the intrigued Jodie. "Quite handsome actually," Mary said. "Bet I'll never see him again." But she was wrong. Returning to Australia from his business trip as a sales executive for a specialist computer firm, Patrick Joiner still had the airport girl very much on his mind.

He looked up the phone number of the airline she worked for, got a work number for Mary and began to bombard her with phone calls. "Please come to dinner with me," he begged. "I can't stop thinking about you."

"At first I wondered if he was some sort of nutter," Mary told her friend  Jodie, but finally she agreed to meet Patrick in a busy Sydney restaurant — and knew immediately she had made the right decision. How could she have known that it was a mistake which would cost her life?

Certainly Patrick Joiner seemed to have everything going for him. He was well-paid, successful, ambitious and handsome. More important to Mary he seemed charming, considerate, kind and caring. Soon they were seeing each other nearly every day and within a couple of weeks, Mary was certain she had at last found her true love.

Three months later Patrick asked Mary to marry him and she immediately agreed. The wedding date was set for October, 1998 but it wasn't long before Mary wondered if she really knew the man she was now calling "Mr Wonderful."

Like all brides she loved making wedding plans but Patrick continually complained about the number of guests being invited. "It's our day and we don't need anyone else," he grumbled.

He also complained about the amount of time Mary spent with her best friend Jodie. "You're always out with her," he said. "You should be spending all your time with me."

Soon Mary was trying to understand what had happened to the man she had fallen in love with. He had turned into a moody paranoid stranger.

But eventually, Mary convinced herself that things would change once they were married — and for a while it seemed she was right. They bought a white Victorian-style house in a Sidney suburb and Patrick went back to being the caring happy man she had fallen in love with. He spoiled her with romantic presents and would cook special dinners. He would call her at work at the airport and pick her up when she had finished her shift.

But when he started phoning her six or seven times a day her bosses began to complain and Mary had to ask Patrick to stop calling. "It's not that I don't want to talk to you — we're just so busy," she said.      

After six months of marriage Mary was alarmed by the increase in Patrick's paranoia and insecurity and persuaded him to go with her to visit a therapist. To her surprise he admitted to the therapist, Dr Geoff Price that the relationship had problems and they were mostly his fault.

"He really wants to make our marriage work," Mary told Jodie Plum. "I really think everything's going to be OK fro

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