A FORMER boyfriend of Celeste Bates who was brutally battered to death with her two young sons today told how he became a nervous wreck during a stormy 12 month love affair with the 30-year-old.

Painter and decorator Paul Shuttleworth, 32, met the care worker when they were neighbours in Duxbury Street, Whitehall, Darwen.

He said: "When I met her she was perfect. She was stunning to look at, a real cracker, but it all turned sour.

"She started to rule my life. I lost my friends and ended up owing thousands of pounds. By the end I was a complete nervous wreck."

Yorkshire-born Celeste, whose father is Portuguese, and her sons, Daniel, eight, and 16-month-old Milo were slaughtered at their four bedroomed home in Blackburn Road, Egerton.

Their blood stained bodies were found in separate bedrooms by police on Wednesday morning.

Paul Shuttleworth said he and Celeste were together for 18-months between 1992 and 1994. During the relationship Paul said he grew close her son Daniel. "I treated that lad like one of my own." he explained. "I paid his nursery fees, he started to call me Daddy."

Celeste was also seeing another man, Ian Bates, who she later married, during her stay in Darwen.

In July 1995, Mr Bates, an accounts manager, was fined and given community service after Burnley Crown Court was told he armed himself with a baseball bat and knife and threatened to kill Paul.

Mrs Bates was said to have been "running between two camps. That's when it got frightening. By the time she eventually left Darwen I was a mess. She had totally manipulated me. She was just that sort of destructive person. I could write a book about what I went through with her."

Despite his experiences Paul said he was shocked at the savage way his former lover was killed. Nobody deserves to die like that, especially two little kiddies," added Paul, who now lives in the Cravens Brow area of Darwen.

The man being quizzed by detectives investigating the murders was under police guard in hospital today.

Peter Hall, aged 34, was taken to hospital from the cells at Astley Bridge Police Station last night complaining of pains in his back and legs.

Hall, boyfriend of Celeste Bates, was detained overnight in hospital for observation.

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