Murderer William Cummins and his victim Jackie Harrison were part of a heavy drinking community in Worcester, the court was told.
It was a life the mother-of-four had been trying to leave behind. But she made the fatal mistake of allowing Cummins, the man she had met 10 years before and who was known as Birmingham Bill, back into her home.
He came to Worcester where he knew Jackie, who was part of a community of heavy drinkers, Judge Robert Juckes said.
She was getting to grips with the difficulties she was having and it was unfortunate that Cummins returned.
He had convictions for violence and he wormed himself into her life. She allowed him to live in her flat. and there was no doubt a “night of hell” she described in her diary was a reference to the way they were living.
Richard Benson QC told the court they lived in a world of alcohol abuse but Jackie had been trying to cut down. She recorded her efforts in her diaries but would write “gave up” whenever she had a drink.
She was described as a lovely person who had problems.
In a statement, her daughter Zoe Allport, aged 31, said that before her problems with drinking she had been a “loving and caring mother”.
She had two daughters and two sons.
“Her life has been blown away,” said Mrs Allport. “He has taken any chance I have to see or speak to her again.”
Mrs Allport is pregnant and attended court regularly throughout the trial.