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Widow reveals why she's in 'fake' relationship with dead husband's brother months after spouse died on sofa after row

Mirror logo Mirror 14/07/2017 Rachel Bishop
Credits: Mercury Press & Media © Mercury Press & Media Credits: Mercury Press & Media

A widow whose husband died after she banished him to the sofa following a row says she's now in a 'fake' relationship with his brother for the sake of her kids.

Ashley Murrell said brother-in-law Chris had been a huge support since she found 36-year-old husband Mikey dead on the sofa in May 16.

Mikey had slept on the sofa after the couple rowed when he returned after another 16 hour shift at work and she was worried he was doing too much.

But days after she found out he was only working so many extra hours so he could take her to Prague for their anniversary on July 3.

Ashley told the MailOnline today that she has received death threats and abuse after posting a photo of her and Chris together this week.

But she insists the relationship isn't real - and claimed they were only giving the impression they are a couple for the stability of her three children - and she wasn't replacing her dead husband.

Ashley said Chris is living with her and her children, but he is sleeping in a spare room, adding: "They are used to having their dad around so it is nice and so important for them to have a male figure in their lives.

"And so we were pretending to be in a relationship for their sake."

Electrician Chris said he drove straigh round to be with Ashley when he found out about his brother's death "because she had no one else."

Describing Ashley as his "rock" and "best friend" he said his mum also found a lot of comfort in seeing them support each other - and said he believed Mikey would also be happy to see he was helping.

But other family members have hit out at the pair.

Credits: Mercury Press & Media © Mercury Press & Media Credits: Mercury Press & Media Chris's sister Christina Murrel posted on Facebook earlier this week: I think it is insensitive and so wrong of them getting together so soon after Michael has died. I do not agree with it."

Chris's estranged wife Terri Nelson also reportedly said: "My ex is clearly so f***ing disgusted with the fact he is f***ing shacked up with his dead brother's wife who passed not even two months ago that he has to make s*** up about me to make himself feel better."

Ashley, from Wellington, Somerset, urged people to 'always kiss your loved ones goodnight' earlier this week after Mikey's tragic death on May 16.

Devastated Ashley said she broke down at the sight of Mikey's body and couldn't stop screaming 'he's dead' before running into the street and blacking out from the grief.

Losing her 'king' made Ashley realise that life's too short not to cherish every moment with your loved ones and is urging couples never to go to sleep on an argument.

Ashley said at the time: "Mikey was so caring, if he walked into a room and saw someone unhappy he would be the first person there trying to cheer them up.

"He absolutely loved his family. He wanted his kids to have all the things in life that he didn't and he worked so hard to make that happen.

"He would work 16-hour shifts, seven days a week just so he could save up enough to take us all to Disney every year. He was so worn out but he would do anything just to see us smile.

"But the hours he was working were just getting too much. He was so exhausted all the time and he was running himself into the ground and his health was going downhill fast.

"When he came home that night he was a mess, I have never seen him so exhausted. I couldn't stand seeing him like that and I got angry. I was sick of it.

"I had a go at him and told him to sleep on the sofa which was stupid because I really just wanted him around more.

"When I came out of the bedroom and saw him the next morning I knew something was wrong straight away. He was lying exactly where I left him and his face was all discoloured - he looked grey.

"I walked over and touched him but he was cold and I jumped back and ran out the room. I started screaming 'your dad's dead' to my 14-year-old and ran into the street screaming 'Mikey's dead'.

"I blacked out and had to be carried back into the house by neighbours. It felt so surreal, I couldn't process it. I didn't feel like he was dead, I felt like he had left me.

"When the ambulance came and they confirmed he was dead I collapsed onto the floor and I was sick. Nothing made sense.

"I felt so guilty. I was so angry with myself for making him sleep on the sofa. I still find it so hard to think that my last words to him were out of anger.

"When I found out he'd been saving to take us on an anniversary holiday it was awful - heartbreaking doesn't begin to cover it.

"Losing Mikey has changed my entire perspective on life. Life is too short to go to bed angry and not to spend every moment you can with your family."

Mikey and Ashley Murrel on their wedding day. © Mercury Press & Media Mikey and Ashley Murrel on their wedding day. Lovebirds Ashley and Mikey met in 2007 through mutual friends but realised their feelings for each other a year later on a night out - and moved in together a week later.

After they got married Mikey adopted Ashley's daughter Morgan Murrell, 14, and the couple had twins Mikey and Lisa in 2013.

But after injuring his back while lifting weights and discovering he was suffering from spinal arthritis in 2014, Mikey's dedication to his work started to take its toll.

Ashley claims a post-mortem revealed Mikey choked in his sleep but that the cause behind it was 'inconclusive'.

Explaining why their dad isn't coming home to her kids has been one of the hardest parts for Ashley, whose little boy often asks if they can 'visit daddy in heaven'.

Ashley said: "Mikey and I had a lot of mutual friends so we met through them and we were inseparable right away. He had this dark sense of humour that nobody really understood apart from me.

"But a year into us being friends we were out and he came up to me and started kissing me at the bar and it all just clicked. It all happened really quickly after that.

"I had never felt the way I did about Mikey with anyone else. I will always love him.

"He was such a good dad right from the start with our eldest and he was brilliant when the twins came along, doing night feeds and nappy changes and still working ridiculous hours.

"After his injury, Mikey never properly healed and it took its toll. But even when he was at his worst he would push himself with work and any time he had off he'd be doing everything with the kids.

"I knew something like this was going to happen, I knew he was doing too much but you can never prepare yourself for this.

"Explaining it to the kids has been one of the hardest parts. I didn't at first but they kept asking when daddy was coming home. Now my little boy always asks if we can visit daddy in heaven - it's really hard.

"Some days are easier than others and I think I'm doing okay but then a day comes along where every little thing is a reminder.

"The other day I was driving along and the kids were singing in the back and it was all so happy but then I just started having flashbacks about finding him. It's going to be like that for a while.

"It's going to be tough doing all the firsts without him. I already had our first anniversary alone. All I know is that my feelings for him will never go away. He was too amazing to even describe him in words."

Mikey was laid to rest on June 8 and Ashley believes letting their kids come to the funeral helped them fully understand that their dad had passed away.

Blue and white floral tributes of the words 'daddy', 'son' and 'bro' were placed near his grave along with a purple heart-shaped wreath with a blue ribbon that said 'Pooh' - Ashley's pet name for Mikey.

In a touching eulogy, Ashley said: "Go kiss your loved ones and tell them you care. Let them know you love them as they may not always be there.

"Say goodnight at bedtime and always kiss goodbye because one day, you never know, they may grow wings and fly.

"Live everyday as if it's your last and let go of bad things in the past. Our lives are too short and they go fast.

"If I could say something it would be this, life is hard but loving you was bliss. It's not been easy but my heart is yours, it will always be.

"The words 'I love you' are not enough. I am not grown up enough for this stuff but I will be your rock until the day I die then I will fly with you up in the sky.

"Thank you for everything my lover, my dear. I will try not to live my life in fear. I will see you again, I will smell your skin. I will be your queen and you my king."

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