Amanda escaped the clutches of her mother's murderer and lived to rebuild her life - Now her heart rending tale of tragedy and survival in Stevenage hits our television screens on Saturday
PUBLISHED: 10:35 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:35 18 November 2016
The incredible story of a girl who survived being pulled from a burning house after watching her mother's murder will be broadcast on television this weekend.
Amanda Wright was just four years old when a brutal attacker raped and murdered her mum at their home in Stevenage.
She was lucky to escape from the horrific ordeal with her life and, now aged 40 and a mother of two children, she has written a book – Without a Mother’s Love, which has been selected for a television documentary as part of a reality TV series called The Day I Should Have Died.
Amanda told the Comet this week: “I was happy to do the documentary as it gets my story out there and hopefully helps others who are in a similar situation.
“I found out a lot of things I didn’t know, for example, my mum’s friend Carol was interviewed and told them how my mum had been hiding a doll in her wardrobe ready for my birthday, but never got to give it to me.
“She said my mum had called her on the night because she was unsure about a man who was asking for lodgings, but she said she couldn’t go round because she was going out on a date with her future husband.
“It’s helping me get a further understanding of the situation which I didn’t have before.”
In her book, Amanda talks candidly about the day in March 1980 when Broadwater park-keeper John Dickinson attacked her 25-year-old mother Susan Lowson at the family’s Colestrete home.
“I knew of the man, I think he was looking for lodgings in the area and he stayed the night with us,” said Amanda, who has lived in Stevenage for much of her life, but also spent shorter periods in Knebworth and Little Wymondley.
“I was in my mum’s bed and we both woke up. He grabbed my mum out of the bed and started attacking her. I was just told to keep quiet.
“Then he went for me and tried to suffocate me. He put his hands around my neck and put a pillow over my head.
“I went unconscious and when I came round the bed was on fire. “Luckily the milkman heard me scream and came and broke the door down and got me out.”
Dickinson, who had an address in Lygrave in the town at the time of the crimes, was sentenced to a double life term for murder and arson.
The programme will be screened on Saturday at 10pm on the CBS Reality channel, available on Sky (146), Virgin (148) and Freeview (66).