Apr 23, 2014 12:55 PM EDT
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Bomber's Ex Says He Beat Her

The ex-girlfriend of suspected terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev said he beat her when she wore American clothing and forced her to wear an Islamic hijab.

Nadine Ascencao, who reports claim is half Portuguese half Italian, said she fell so hard for the alleged Boston bomber that she complied with his demands - even though he physically and emotionally abused her.

"I went to his mosque a couple of times and even looked into converting to make him happy. I thought, 'This is crazy' - but I still did it for him," she told Britain's The Sun. "Tamerlan had taken my virginity and said he loved me because I was pure and hadn't been with any other guys. I was in love and scared he'd leave me if I didn't do what he said. Looking back I had a lucky escape."

Ascencao, who met Tamerlan when she was 17 while they were students at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, told the paper she saw his slow transformation from a hard-partying pot smoker to a devout Islamic extremist - and he tried to force her to radicalize as well.

 "One minute he's this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense," she told the paper. "He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. Tamerlan said I couldn't be with him unless I became a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did."

She said she ended up wearing a hijab because when she wore more western clothing he would become abusive with her. One time, when he showed up at a pool party and saw her with cut-off jeans, he lost it.

"He was shouting and screaming at me. He slapped me across the face really hard," she said. He ended up getting arrested for the assault.

Now, after seeing how he ended up, and what he allegedly did, Ascencao said she's glad the two didn't last.

"When they said Tamerlan was dead, I didn't cry," she said.

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