A BRIDE-to-be crawled out of a shallow grave after being buried alive by her fiancé - only to tragically die six years later from pneumonia caused by her terrifying ordeal, an inquest heard today.

Stacey Gwilliam, then 34, was strangled by her lover Keith Hughes in a row as the pair walked on a coastal path, before he buried her lifeless body in the grave under a bed of branches.

Painter and decorator Hughes, 39, had tried to "snap her neck" before hiding her body as he fled the beauty spot golf course.

Police arrested 14-stone Hughes after he crashed her car but he told them: "You'll never find her."

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Keith Hughes

But 5ft 2ins Ms Gwilliams survived by using her nails to claw out of the grave and helped bring Hughes to justice after he left her for dead - but she was never the same again.

An inquest heard she spent three months in hospital following the attack in July 2015 and had to relearn how to walk and talk again.

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Stacey Gwilliam in hospital

PC Tom Evans, of South Wales Police, said former Virgin Atlantic worker Ms Gwilliam suffered repeated bouts of pneumonia in the following years - and died at the age of just 40.

He said: "She suffered with severe depression and anxiety and also suffered from pneumonia due to being buried alive."

The inquest heard Ms Gwilliam, of Townhill, Swansea, first met Hughes in 2011 before he became abusive towards her.

PC Evans said family noticed she had "marks and bruises" on her body during the relationship while fearing for her safety.

Hughes was jailed for life with a minimum of eight years by Judge Paul Thomas at Swansea Crown Court.

The judge said he was a "severe risk" following the attack between Bracelet Bay and Langland Bay in Swansea.

South Wales Argus: Wales News ServiceWales News Service (Image: Wales News Service)The location of the attack on Stacey Gwilliam

In a dramatic victim statement to the court, Ms Gwilliam told how she nearly died and spent nearly three weeks in a coma after saying she wanted to end their relationship.

She said: "The simple truth is what he told me that day: 'If I can't have you no-one can'.

"He knew the relationship was over and knew I would not go back to him. He took me down there that day to kill me, and he nearly succeeded.

"I will never ever forget what he did to me that day and what he did to me throughout our relationship and now I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

"I only hope he does too."

The inquest heard Ms Gwilliam died at home in November last year after suffering from a chest infection.
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'If I can't have you no-one can' - Stacey Gwilliam suffered abuse throughout her relationship with Hughes

She called her GP the day before her death and was told to take antibiotics.

But she was found dead in bed the following day after self-medicating in attempt to treat her infection.

The inquest heard Ms Gwilliam had started to order medication online - and toxicology reports found a number of sedative drugs in her system which were mostly prescribed.

A post mortem by Dr John Williams found the cause of death to be bronchopneumonia with combined drug toxicity.

The inquest in Swansea heard Ms Gwilliam also suffered with PTSD, anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Acting Senior Coroner Colin Phillips recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

He said: "I have heard she suffered a number of health issues in her short life and was subjected to a number of abusive relationships.

"There is no evidence that she intended to end her life on this occasion."

He added: "Stacey died as a result of self medicating when she was suffering from a chest infection."