A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The gratuitous “I didn’t . . . ” — a verbal tactic of the abuser

In a case that happened several months ago in my home state of Victoria, Australia, a father of four was accused of three counts of rape and one of murder of a woman whom he did not previously know.

While shedding crocodile tears during the police interview, he used a red-flag phrase. He gratuitously stated “I didn’t ….” mark those words.

Here’s an extract of the newspaper report of the police interview which was presented as evidence in court.

After his arrest over the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, Adrian Bayley told police he hoped Victoria would bring back the death penalty.

In a record of interview tendered to the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Mr Bayley told police he never meant to hurt Ms Meagher.

“I have no life left … they should have the death penalty for people like me anyway.” . . .

Mr Bayley started to cry when he told police: ”I strangled her.”

”What have I done? What have I done, man?”

Mr Bayley later told police he was crying when he buried Ms Meagher.

”And I didn’t cry for me, you need to understand that. I didn’t cry for me, just like I’m not crying for me now.

”I’m crying for everyone that this has affected, not me.

“There’s no explanation and … there’s no excuses for this. Alright? For her family this week it must have been hell, you know what I mean?”

There was no reason for Bailey to assert, “I didn’t cry for me. . .” other than for the goal of manipulating the impression of the person who was questioning him.  The detective hadn’t asked Bayley the reason for his tears, but Bayley was at pains to explain to (instruct) the detective that wasn’t crying for himself — “you need to understand that.” This language is typical for abusers and criminals when they are trying to shape the impressions and thoughts of others.

And if Bayley had cared about the woman’s family, he would have handed himself in soon after the crime. As it was, the family had five days of living on a knife-edge before the alleged killer was arrested and the woman’s body exhumed from its shallow grave.

You can read another example of this kind of language at George Simon Jr’s post I am not a monster — impression management Ariel Castro style.


  1. speakingtruthinlove
  2. Brenda R

    HE has no life left? He’s still talking. I can’t say the same for his victim. He didn’t mean to hurt her? He strangled her. Is he claiming that strangling her was an accident? He wasn’t crying for himself? Oh Please, he got caught. That is the only reason he is crying.

  3. fiftyandfree

    To strangle someone to death takes a considerable amount of time; plenty of time to stop what you’re doing if you truly have any compassion whatsoever for the victim. He was crying because he was caught, and because he hoped his fake remorse would get him better treatment by the justice system. One day these monsters will meet their makers and they will shake with terror as they become acutely aware that their masterful skills of manipulation and deceit will no longer serve them.

  4. Jeff Crippen

    They are never wrong. Never. Never. I have sat with such people and confronted them, along with witnesses. But it didn’t happen. They didn’t do it or say it. YOU did! Someone else killed this lady and buried her. “What have I done?” is a phrase that really is saying, “It wasn’t me actually. I didn’t know what I was doing. I lost control. It was as if I was watching someone else do it.” And so WE are supposed to pity them, let them off the hook, and minimize their evil. There is only one remedy available in regard to dealing with such a person. Be done with them. Eject them from your life as much as possible.

  5. Katy

    George Simon’s article on Ariel Castro was spot on – Castro’s further character assassinations of his victims in court – just unreal.
    I find it most interesting that Castro hung himself in prison rather than serve the rest of his life in a comfortable jail cell – which is more than his victims ever had.
    We reject this stuff and keep saying EVIL IS REAL, it has no conscience, psychopaths are not victims to be pitied! The more people hear the truth, the better!

  6. jritterbrunson

    Even after the horrible crime, he is still trying to manipulate and control those around him. Typical.

  7. ranthegauntlet

    Wow. I have seen the “shaping of impressions,” but never saw it clearly or heard it put into words this way, and as in the Castro article. I may also have DONE it, though not as a perpetrator, but possibly from now unnecessary defensiveness lingering after being a victim fearful of being misunderstood. Thank you for an eye-opener and mind-expander. It is always a good and empowering feeling to learn something that helps me feel more capable of future discernment and coping – this increased competency is a good part of recovery. Thanks!!!! Diane

  8. Brenda R

    Reading this brought me right back to anger that I thought I was working through fairly well. Seeing once again how someone can abuse another and still attempt to manipulate and minimize their behavior is a trigger for me. Thank you, Barbara for pointing out the brokenness that remains in my heart. Wake up call!!

    • Brenda I am with you there. I too find anger welling up in me when something like this reminds me of the evil ways of abusers. I think the anger is not a sin (God is angry with the wicked every day) — as we’ve said many times before on this blog, Paul’s words are so perfect in guiding us about anger: Be angry and do not sin. Eph. 4:26. He doesn’t tell us not to be angry, in fact, he tells us (or at least gives us permission) to be angry! And while angry, guard ourselves from letting anger impel us into sinful actions.

  9. His Child

    Barbara Roberts: There was no reason for Bailey to assert, “I didn’t cry for me. . .” other than for the goal of manipulating the impression of the person who was questioning him….”you need to understand that”. This is typical language of abusers…

    Dr. George Simon: But it’s precisely the “characterization” he wants to sell others about himself as well as the behavior he exhibited in the present time (free from his “denial” of the past) that gives his true character away when you look at things objectively.

    Brilliantly said.

    Note to self: Impression management – that’s the name of the game.

  10. bluesinaminor

    and interestingly after making all these comments as Barbara has reported, Bayley was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in jail – and he appealed for a reduced sentence. Just a trifle inconsistent? He has just today lost that appeal.

    • Brenda R

      It is 35 years more than his victim was given and a far lighter sentence than I would want him to have. You are right though, when one form of manipulation doesn’t work for them, try plan B.

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