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Keith Preddie: 'Everyone thought I was the shamone master, but inside I was hurting'

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A MAN who pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife has told the Advertiser he is "ashamed" and has "let himself down".

Keith Preddie, 44, pleaded guilty to assault by beating his wife Emma Preddie at their family home on December 18 during a row over Christmas presents.

The argument escalated and Preddie lost his temper, throwing a washing frame at his wife along with a plastic step. He also pinned her down to the sofa.

The incident was caught on CCTV that he had installed in his house to "keep his family safe".

On Wednesday he gave an exclusive interview to the Advertiser at his South Norwood home, revealing that although he was ashamed, he felt his two years of marriage had been very challenging.

He said: "I loved my estranged wife but she was draining the life out of me and what happened that night was not me, it was not what I'm about, it was not the person I am.

"I am no way trying to wriggle out of what I did and to this day feel ashamed, upset and know that I will never forget what happened until the day I die. But it takes two to start an argument and I am no wife-beater."

Preddie had a full-time job at the Family Centre in New Addington before the charges were put against him, and also ran a Time for Dads organisation which has been defunct since the allegations surfaced.

He said: "Domestic violence is not something you can take lightly. I work with parents, they come to me and tell me what's going on. Mothers and fathers came to me and were also suffering.

"I loved my wife, I thought we were soulmates, but there were too many cracks in the marriage early on.

"Everyone thought I was this bubbly happy chappy, that I was the shamone master, but inside I was hurting. I am a human being and I'm not perfect but I am not a bad person. If I was a wife-beater I wouldn't have installed CCTV in my home to keep my family safe."

After the incident in December Preddie was contacted by his father-in-law, Graham Gaylard, who told him he supported him.

Preddie said: "I have the utmost respect for my father-in-law. He has supported me for three months, he knows I never beat my wife. But he knew something was not right.

"Without my family I don't think I would still be here. I think I would have gone to Beachy Head, and that's a sad thing to say.

"My wife found the way I lived challenging. I was out working a lot, maybe I was not as devoted to her as I should have been. But I was happy to stop performing and become a family man.

"I make no excuse for my actions but you need to know the truth."

Preddie may now be facing a custodial sentence, but he sees the loss of his job as a bigger punishment. He said: "If I get sent to prison, I get to sent to prison. I'll do it. But to never be able to do my job again, which I loved so much and got so much satisfaction from, that is very hard, very challenging.

"It's not like I have been charged for driving without insurance or something, I have a criminal record of domestic abuse so I'll never be able to work with children again, which is what I loved.

"I want to apologise to my children and step-children for all the upset I have caused them over the last three months. I am not a violent man and I would sooner cut off my hands then lay a finger on another male or female."

The assault and subsequent police involvement has caused rifts in the Preddie family. The Advertiser can reveal Mrs Preddie's father, Graham Gaylard, had been preparing to give evidence as a character witness in support of the former dad of the year. And this week, despite Preddie's last-minute guilty plea, Mr Gaylard sided with Croydon's answer to the King of Pop instead of his own daughter. In a prepared statement released to the Advertiser on Wednesday, Mr Gaylard said: "I am very proud to admit that Keith Preddie is my son in law." Preddie will be sentenced on April 11 at Croydon Magistrates' Court.

Keith Preddie: 'Everyone thought I was the shamone master, but inside I was hurting'


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