A mum has spoken out over horrific racist text messages sent by her former mother-in-law.
Joanne Gillies received a string of vile messages – which has chosen not to show – from Jacqueline Polanski, directed at her three-year-old mixed race daughter, Iliza.
Now Joanne is hoping to rebuild her life after Polanski – the mother of her former partner of 22 years – was banned from contacting her for 12 months.
Polanksi was also made subject to a community order for the same period after admitting her guilt.
Joanne says: “I had a really good relationship with Jackie.
“I was with her son for 22 years and so I saw her as my mother-in-law.
“I always turned to her when I needed help, which is what makes this all the more devastating.
“But after he and I split, I met a new partner, a Muslim man, and Jackie really turned on me.
“She sent me some horrific messages.
“I was actually scared of her, but I had to speak out, for my daughter’s sake.
“She is only three years old and she has no voice.
“I want to show her that racist abuse is not OK and it’s always important to stand against it.”
Joanne met her former partner at school.
The pair were childhood sweethearts and went on to have a family together.
Joanne had a close relationship with his mother, Jackie.
Joanne, 39, from Staffordshire, says: “I had lost contact with my own mum and Jackie became my mother figure.
“She had a key for my house, we went shopping together and we’d have a drink together.
“She would baby-sit for me and always bought birthday and Christmas gifts for my kids.
“Once when he and I had nowhere to live she let us move in with her.
“She was really good to me.”
But in 2014, he and Joanne split.
Late in 2015, she met a new partner, Iftikhar Khan.
Joanne says: “When he heard I’d moved on, he was furious.
“I fell pregnant and Jackie got involved and she was really unpleasant.
“She was sending me horrible text messages and voicemails, many of which were racist.”
Joanne’s daughter, Iliza, was born in April 2016.
Joanne says: “It should have been such a happy time, but Jackie was vile.
“She sent messages saying I was smelly and I was a sl*g because I was with an Asian man.
“She said he would pass me round his whole family, because that was what they did.
“She also said that me and my daughter should be burned.
“She called us ‘scum’.
“The racist abuse made me feel vulnerable.
“I was frightened but I realised I had to speak out for my daughter’s sake.
“She was too young to speak for herself.”
Though Joanne and Iftikhar split, they remained good friends and he and his family were supportive throughout the court case.
Polanski, 57, appeared at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in August this year and was handed a 12-month community order.
Polanski, of Spring Lodge Avenue, Blythe Bridge, pleaded guilty to sending by public communication an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message.
As part of the community order, Polanski must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement for 30 days.
She was also made the subject of a 12-month restraining order, which prevents her having any contact with her victim or going within 50 metres of her home.
Magistrates fined her £120 and ordered her to pay £135 costs and a £90 surcharge.
Joanne says: “I want my daughter to grow up knowing that this kind of behaviour is not OK.
“I want to give her a voice.
“I did this for her.”