|Exclusive: Priest's Note Drove Me to Overdose
Exclusive the Woman Who Is Expecting Priest's Baby - Day Two Ex Feared Cleric Had Other Lover
By Janice Burns
Glasgow Daily Record [Scotland]
February 10, 2006
HILDA Robertson told yesterday how she tried to commit suicide over her fears that her priest lover was cheating on her.
Hilda's suspicions she was not the only woman in Father Roddy MacNeil's life began only months after she moved to the island of Barra to be with him.
And she finally cracked when she found an explicit love note under the priest's pillow - as she waited in bed for him to join her.
Hilda, who is expecting Roddy's baby in the summer, had left her husband of 20 years, Jim, and their son, now 20, at their home in Larkhall, Lanarkshire, last March.
She told Jim she needed a clean break and wanted to start afresh on Barra, where many of her relatives lived.
But her real plan was to continue her affair with the local priest known as Father Flash, who was also her first cousin.
They had planned their lives together and Roddy had mapped out a way that they could share their future without him having to leave the priesthood.
He told her that he would get a parish on the mainland and she could be hired as his live-in housekeeper without anyone suspecting a thing.
Within months of Hilda moving to Barra, though, she became convinced she was not the only woman the 46-year-old priest was seeing.
Hilda said: "I had my suspicions in June that I was not the only woman in his life. We were together at least three times a week and I thought we were in love.
"I would turn up at the house to see him and could smell a woman's perfume in the bedroom.
"Then one night as I got into bed to wait for him to come upstairs, I lifted the bed clothes and found a note under his pillow.
"It read: 'Thank you for a very intimate week. I think you are very, very sexy. Can't wait to see you next week. I love you xx'. I went ballistic and confronted him. I asked him what the hell was going on.
"He started off saying he had no idea what I was talking about then made the excuse that someone must have just walked in and put it under his pillow.
"He said a couple he was friendly with had been staying at the house that week and I thought maybe he was having an affair with the woman.
"He said it was an invasion of his privacy so I told him that maybe at Mass that Sunday he should hold up the note and ask if anyone knew where it had come from.
"Then he took it to the extreme and told me that he had passed the note on to the police.
"He said he didn't want this to come between us and he would do everything in his power to convince me that he had nothing to do with the letter and was not having an affair.
"I was not convinced. I still had nagging doubts. It stank to high heaven.
"I gave him the benefit of the doubt but it was never the same after that because I felt I couldn't trust him."
After that incident, Hilda began checking his mobile phone for clues.
Soon after, she discovered a voice-mail message on his mobile from a foreign woman which said: "Missing you. I love you. This no life without you."
Hilda buckled under the pressure of the lies and deceit and went round local shops buying up a potentially lethal dose of paracetamol.
In a desperate act, she swallowed handfuls of pills as Roddy drove her back to her own home.
She said: "It was my only way out of this life. I'd had enough. All the lies, guilt and deceit all got too much and I couldn't take it anymore.
"I was sitting in Roddy's 4X4, taking my overdose and he just turned round and said, 'Please don't do this'. He didn't try to stop me."
Roddy dropped Hilda off at her home on Barra then went to get help from a neighbouring friend.
The doctor was called and Hilda was taken to hospital, where she was given treatment.
She was then flown to Glasgow's Southern General, where she was given the all-clear and released.
Hilda said: "I was lucky there was no permanent damage and I was given the all-clear and sent home.
"I know it was a stupid thing to do but at the time I thought it was the only way out."
Two days later, Hilda met Roddy for an Italian meal at a posh restaurant in Glasgow city centre.
She had expected him to want to question her about the suicide bid but the subject was not discussed.
She said: "We did not discuss the attempted suicide. I didn't have to tell him that he was the cause, he knew that already.
"Roddy is very good at avoiding unpleasant conversations."
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