A WOMAN, who was savagely beaten by her husband and held prisoner in the loft of her own home, has said more needs to be done to help victims of domestic abuse.

Zara Bell, 26, was repeatedly beaten by her violent husband David Bell, also 26.

She was held captive in a tiny attic alongside her one-year-old daughter over a three-week period while her bodybuilder husband went out to the gym.

Zara would repeatedly arrive for work covered in bruises, but bosses did nothing to help and instead sacked her because her bruises “put off customers”.

She urged anyone who suspects a friend or colleague is suffering at the hands of a partner to listen and then report their concerns.

She said: “I would have welcomed someone in a position of authority, like my boss and employer, offering me help and telling me my husband was in the wrong and I didn’t have to put up with him.

“If there is anyone out there who suspects their employee or colleague is being abused by their partner, then don’t be frightened to say something to them and offer them help.

“You could be the person who helps that victim get away from their situation.”

David Bell was jailed for nine years after the ongoing torture, which he meted out at their home in Brackley Crescent, Pitsea.

The abuse reached a dramatic climax when Bell held Zara, and their one-year-old baby daughter, captive in the loft of the family home for three weeks.

Zara added: “David beat me so badly at one point he wouldn’t let me go to work for two days.

“The day that I left, I held my shirt up and showed my boss the footmarks from where my husband had stamped on me.

“But my bosses didn’t know what to do.

“They told me to leave him, but then they said they were letting me go because I was covered in bruises so much.

Lyn Headley, chief executive officer of the Basildon Women’s Aid, urged businesses to support staff if they go to police, or even logging details of injuries they come into work with if they are unwilling to report abuse.

She said: “It seems like there were several missed opportunities to refer this woman for help.

“By the sound of it, it’s only luck this woman found the courage to make that call to police before she ended up dead.

“We do a lot of work with businesses to let them know how they can help their employees and support them through it.

“Sometimes it can be a huge support to have your employer behind you, they can help you get help and start a new life.

“Even in cases where the victim doesn’t want to make that first call, colleagues can help by keeping notes of when someone comes into work with injuries.

“Sometimes it’s just as simple as letting someone know you will support them.”

Bell was given nine years after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

His wife Zara was finally freed from the loft where she was being held captive in February after she managed to smuggle a mobile phone into the attic.

l If you are the victim of domestic abuse call the Basildon Women’s Aid on 01268 729709 or their 24-hour helpline on 01268 581591. For advice in Southend, call Southend Domestic Abuse Service on 01702 618026 or in an emergency 08450177668. You can also email info@saferplaces.co.uk