The devastated Laura Gray mourned for years for her beloved children – she always believed she had been kidnapped in separate horrific tragedies.
The unimaginable suffering was more than any mother should have endured. Even greater pain, however, came on the day the terrible truth came to light … her ex murdered 24-day-old Ruby and 21-month-old Logan to try to keep Laura with him.
Today, when she first speaks, Laura tells the Sunday Mirror that she is haunted by thoughts of how her toddlers died – and shaken by the guilt of not being able to save them from control freak Jordan Monaghan.
She is constantly tormented, playing her children’s last days over and over again and wondering what she could do to protect them.
Laura, 29, says: “I always feel guilty, I feel guilty every day and I keep thinking about what I could have done differently.
“I carry this with me every day. I will carry this with me for the rest of my life. “
Tiny Ruby was strangled in her Moses basket at the family home in Blackburn, Lancs.
Eight months later, Monaghan killed Logan in a cabin in the pool before pushing his body home in a wheelchair.
Doctors thought Ruby had pneumonia, while the cause of Logan’s death was undetermined. Laura never suspected that her children had died in the father.
But in 2018 – five years later – information emerged about the breakup of another child and police arrested construction worker Monaghan, 30, on suspicion of murder.
It is appalling that while he was under police protection while investigations continued, he murdered his girlfriend Evie Adams, 23, with a deadly tramadol cocktail and diazepam.
Last month, Monaghan was found guilty of three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder of an unknown child.
He was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison.
It turned out to be horrifying that he tried to strangle Ruby a few days before her death.
Laura says the family had “the best Christmas ever” after Ruby was born on December 8, 2012.
“I felt like the happiest mom in the world, with my little family,” Laura says.
“That was all I ever wanted. I was determined to give my children everything I had never had before. “
But bliss is supposed to be horribly shattered. Laura was stacking her clothes upstairs when Monaghan yelled at her.
As she hurried downstairs, she saw Ruby holding her breath. Laura called an ambulance in a panic and Ruby was in the hospital for three days.
But on New Year’s Eve, the day after she was fired, Monaghan killed her.
Laura says, “The kids were in bed and we were watching a movie and seeing the New Year before I went to bed. Jordan stayed upright to give Ruby his bottle at 2 in the morning.
“I woke up early from Jordan screaming not to breathe. I ran downstairs and the moment I looked at her I saw she was gone.
“We called an ambulance and I went to the hospital with her, but it was too late.”
A routine police investigation followed and Ruby’s death was attributed to acute bronchial pneumonia.
Laura was completely destroyed. He says, “After Ruby died, I completely collapsed. I really relied on Jordan for support. He was very strong and practical. He planned a funeral and then returned to work.
“He just kept going. But again, I thought he was strong for me. I didn’t suspect anything. We focused on Logan, because he was all we had left. Jordan had a really close relationship with his son.”
But tensions between the couple escalated when Laura discovered that her fiancé was not paying rent and had developed a serious gambling addiction.
Still in severe grief, she told Monaghan that the relationship was over and she had to move out.
He killed Logan the next day.
Monaghan took the child to a local bathhouse and strangled him in the locker rooms. He took the toddler home in his rain-covered stroller, pretending to be asleep.
“Jordan told me to wake Logan up while he went out for pizza,” Laura says. “I knew the moment I lifted the rain blanket.
“He looked the same as Ruby. Jordan tried to revive him, covered up what he did, and staged the show because he knew he was already dead. I was shocked, completely devastated.”
Monaghan gave gruesome interviews in which he spoke of his family’s grief over the loss of two young children and asked for “answers”.
An upset mom suffered a fracture and was admitted to hospital for psychiatric help. But she and Monaghan revived their relationship, with Laura saying, “Jordan visited him every day. He really supported.
“He was a link to my two kids, the only one who knew how I really felt.”
The couple tried to rebuild their lives, but Monaghan started to gamble again and Laura finally ended their relationship.
Then in 2018 came the news that deaths are being reviewed.
Monaghan was arrested, but he was still able to trigger even more unimaginable pain.
While on bail in October 2019, he murdered his new partner and falsified a suicide message after she tried to end their relationship.
During a 10-week trial at Preston Crown Court, jurors were told Monaghan committed the murders because he could not face the rejection of his partners.
Laura says Monaghan killed Ruby and Logan to force her to stay with him because she knew she wouldn’t leave if she lost the baby.
He says, “He knew we were in trouble, and I think he did it to bring us closer, because he knew I was going to lean on him for support. And I am. I leaned against him and he knew I needed him. That was a control thing. “
The tombstone on Ruby’s grave shows respect for the “little princess” with “All our love, mom and dad” … Laura didn’t know at the time that Monaghan was guilty.
He says: “I visit the graves every week and it is very painful to see me. Now I’m looking for ways to remove “Daddy.”
Although Laura says it was a consolation to meet Mrs. Adams’ family at the trial, she is also haunted by what might have happened if she and Monaghan had stayed together.
He says, “It’s scary to think what could have happened if I hadn’t broken up.”
Laura also wonders what we could have done differently, and explains, “When I found Ruby, she was covered in a blanket.
“Looking back, it didn’t make sense. Surely if I wasn’t breathing, I’d find her? He took him swimming with Logan without telling me.”
“Jordan hated swimming, he never was. Then he came home and insisted that I wake Logan to make sure I found him. I’m still trying not to blame myself.”
Laura was best friends with Monaghan’s sister and had known him since childhood.
“Looking back, he was already monitoring me at the time, but I didn’t see that,” he says.
“No one is. In my worst nightmares, I could never have imagined what the future held. “
When Laura was 16, Jordan proposed, but knelt down and moved together a year later.
He says: “We settled down and we were really happy. Family and friends thought well of Jordan. There were no warning signs at all. “
The couple struggled for a baby and in 2011 Laura’s dream came true when Logan was born.
Monaghan seemed to be a “good father”. Now Laura is barely forced to utter his name, she simply refers to him
as a “cheater”
He is trying to rebuild his life with the help of his “rock” – new partner Andy Chambers, 33 years old.
It took Laura a long time to trust men again. But she prays that one day she could have a child with stair engineer Andy.
And she hopes to work with women trapped in violent relationships.
Laura gets a fleeting consolation by holding baby toys, plush toys and even the clothes they wore on the day of her death.
But he can never forgive. He says: “No punishment would be enough. What he has done is beyond human comprehension.
“I will always carry the memory of my precious children and I want them to be proud.
“It is hard to think that I would have more children after what happened, but I want to keep that hope. I will always be a mother, that’s all I ever wanted, and Jordan can’t take that away from me. “