Mum and dad split so he made me his ‘wife’ – now he’ll be jailed for years of abuse after I helped trap him
Mum and dad had separated and now her father needed someone else to take on the role of his wife.
He wanted someone to cook clean and have sex with and soon he found someone who was the image of his ex – his daughter.
Teenager Marie was taken out of care and forced to take her mother’s place in her father’s bed. But after years of abuse she finally found the courage to help trap him and he has just been convicted of multiple rapes and sex attacks against his young daughter.
I was watching TV with my brothers and sisters in the lounge. Suddenly Dad came in and plonked himself down next to me on the settee.
‘Come and give your old Dad a cuddle,’ he smiled, draping the towel across both our laps.
As his hand slipped underneath it, I felt sick. I was only nine but deep down I knew that our ‘special cuddles’ weren’t quite right.
But still, I pushed my fears to the back of my mind. To be honest, part of me was just pleased to be getting some attention. Living with my six brothers and sisters, this was the only time I seemed to get any one-on-one time with Dad.
Only, as the years passed, the touching got more frequent. Dad would come into the bedroom I shared with two of my sisters and sit on my bed. Then we’d play the game where we all had to pretend to be asleep…while his hands crept under my duvet and into my pyjama bottoms while I held my breath and laid very still.
‘Sleep, I said!’ he’d roar if my sisters so much as flinched.
After he’d finish I’d open one eye and look over to their beds. But it was only me he touched. I was his ‘special girl’.
But just before my 11th birthday, things turned sour. I was always getting the blame for incidents around the house. And at school, I became unruly.
‘She’s out of control,’ my teachers warned. They were right but nobody worked out why and I was too afraid to tell them.
After yet another school visit, Mum decided she’d had enough. I was made to see a psychiatrist, then taken into care.
I hated it. Although I wasn’t happy at home, being alone with no family at all was even worse. And I was teased and picked on at school, too.
‘Care kid!’ my schoolmates taunted as I arrived at school in a taxi.
Even my brothers and sisters walked past me in the street.
Only Dad ever came to see me. We’d arrange to meet in town. Mum and I no longer spoke. She was fed up with me and deep down I resented her for giving up on me and not realising what was going on right under her nose.
So I tried to push the touching to the back of my mind because if I let Dad go too, I had nobody.
Three years after I went into care he contacted me with some news.
‘Me and your mum have split up. How do you fancy coming to live with me in my new flat?’
It sounds naive but again I pushed the abuse to the back of my mind. I just wanted to be normal. Anyway, perhaps he had changed…
That December, I moved in. And at first everything was great. Dad didn’t treat me like a kid and even bought me cigarettes and alcohol. OK, so I had to do all the household chores but who cared when I could do whatever I liked the rest of the time?
Just a few weeks later it was Christmas. Knowing how awful Christmas Day was in the home alone I decided to go and visit my friend to cheer her up.
But when I got back dad was drunk. He was furious that I’d gone out and left him alone on Christmas Day. We had a huge row. Christmas was ruined.
The next day was Boxing Day and I was pleased that Dad seemed determined to make it up to me. He got out a large bottle of Bailey’s.
‘To us!’ he said as he poured me a glass, and another, and another…
But after finishing the whole bottle I tried to stand up, vomited and passed out on the floor.
I woke woozily to find my trousers round my ankles and Dad touching me.
I swore at him, tried to pull up my trousers and then curled up and passed out again.
The next morning I asked him what he’d been playing at. But he denied everything and I started to doubt myself. After all, I had been very drunk…
But a fortnight later, it happened again.
This time, I hit him.
‘Do that again and I’ll put you back into care,’ Dad threatened holding his head and wincing.
That was the last thing I wanted. I never wanted to go back to the home. And he knew it. Slowly, Dad began to take over my life. He stopped me going out, demanded I stay at home cooking and cleaning the house. He even started calling me by Mum’s name.
One evening, a month or so later he decided he fancied a roast.
‘But it’s almost 1am!’ I protested sleepily.
But what Dad wanted, Dad got. Hadn’t he proved that already?
When I’d peeled the vegetables I popped my head into the lounge. I couldn’t believe my eyes…
Dad had lit lots of romantic candles and put a blanket on the floor. I had a horrible feeling he was planning something.
Before I could say a word, he pinned me down and raped me.
‘Please stop,’ I sobbed.
But he just kept on. It was like he was looking straight through me.
Afterwards, he got up and did up his trousers.
‘Now go and clean yourself up,’ he said. ‘Oh, and make sure you make some gravy to go with the roast.’
As we sat opposite each other at the table, him shovelling food into his mouth, I couldn’t help thinking that he was playing out some kind of twisted fantasy. Did he think of me as his wife now…?
The next morning he again denied everything, until I showed him the angry bruising on my legs.
‘Don’t ever touch me again!’ I screamed.
But things only got worse. Dad knew I had nowhere to run and hide. He wore me down. I had nowhere to run, no other family to turn too. In the end I decided it would be easier just to keep quiet.
Three years passed. I turned 18. Dad was still raping me. Sometimes he made me spend the whole night in his bed, like I really was his wife.
Two of my siblings came to live with us in the flat so he got a lock put on the bedroom door so they would never catch him.
It was like a living hell. But I still tried to be a normal teenager in other ways, even had boyfriends that I met in secret because I knew dad would be jealous at the thought of me having sex with them and hit the roof.
But then I got a job in a chip shop and met someone special. His name was
Graham and he was not much older than me.
We started seeing each other. Soon we were sleeping together. He was kind and gentle – the complete opposite to Dad.
But Dad grew suspicious. One day he followed me and caught us kissing.
‘You slag!’ he erupted, dragging me home.
Back in the house, he started smashing plates over his head.
‘Look how much I love you,’ he roared as china scattered over the carpet. ‘I would die for you.’
I shook my head. ‘This is all wrong,’ I said. ‘You’re supposed to me be my dad, not my partner.’
Eventually, he slunk to the floor and begged me to forgive me. Then he asked if he could have sex with me one last time.
I felt sick. He’d never bothered asking me before. I shook my head.
‘Please don’t leave me,’ he begged as I turned away.
But I couldn’t move out now anyway because my sister had moved in and I was worried what Dad would do to her if I left.
Still, I kept seeing Graham. Then my sister told everyone she was pregnant. Dad was thrilled at the thought of being granddad. And then I missed my period…
‘I’m pregnant too!’ I gasped.
I was over the moon. I knew this was my chance to escape.
But Dad broke down when I told him I was expecting another man’s child. He’d had a vasectomy back when he was with Mum so could never have made me pregnant.
I was six months gone when I finally confessed to my sister what dad had done. She was horrified and broke down crying.
When I gave birth to a baby girl, Sarah, I took her back to dad’s but Graham came to visit and help look after her every day.
And I never ever left her alone with dad. Even if I went to the toilet I took her with me.
Then when she was five weeks old Graham and I moved into a place of our own. My sister moved in with mum.
But dad kept visiting me. One day dad asked if he could take her out on his own. ‘ No way,’ I snapped.
‘Why,’ dad asked. ‘You know why dad,’ I told him.
After that he didn’t even pick her up again. I was relieved.
Only then I found out Dad was seeing someone. She had six kids. I was worried about history repeating itself.
No, I couldn’t let this happen again to another child. Then I received a text from my sister. I knew straight away she had told mum everything about the abuse. Mum didn’t doubt it and called the police. The wheels were turning and now it was time to tell Graham.
Sarah was eight weeks old when I sat him down and told him the truth. He was shocked…and furious.
‘I’m going to go round there..!’ he raged.
But I shook my head. I needed to speak to the police first and when they called me, I made an appointment to go into the station and make a statement.
Next I went to see mum. We fell sobbing into each other’s arms. She felt terrible, but I never blamed her. It became clear dad had manipulated the whole situation to keep us apart so he could carry on abusing me.
Everyone was behind me. But my younger brother wasvery close to dad and still lived with him. I needed way to prove to him I was telling the truth. So I had an idea.
I recorded a phone call in which I asked Dad why he’d abused me. He was too clever to admit it, but he didn’t deny it either like an innocent man would have…
‘Promise your not recording this Emma,’ he kept asking. My heart was racing but I swore on my life I wasn’t. Finally I had the evidence I needed.
‘You’ve got to let the police hear this,’ my sister said when I played the tape back to her.
They told me I had to let Dad keep visiting beforethey arrested him or he’d get suspicious. I hated having to let him near me and Sarah but I desperately wanted justice and if this was a way to help trap dad, I would.
Just before Dad was arrested, I played the recording to all my siblings. They were shocked. And like Mum, felt guilty they hadn’t realised what I was going through.
‘But now he’ll get what he deserves,’ they promised.
I hoped they were right.
Days later, Dad was charged with eleven offences including rape, sexual activity with a child and causing a child to engage in sex.
Soon after I fell pregnant and had another daughter, Kirsty.
‘No one is ever going to hurt you,’ I promised as I cradled her in my arms.
This October, Dad appeared in Ipswich Crown Court. The trial lasted a week. For three days I gave evidence behind a screen so I wouldn’t have to look at him.
He denied the charges. However, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on the five offences of indecent assault and charges of sexual activity with a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, andguilty verdicts on the four offences of rape.
He’s currently awaiting sentencing but the judge has promised he’ll spend a long time behind bars and could be jailed for life.
I hope so. I’ll have to live with the memories of what Dad did forever but a life sentence will at least mean he won’t be able to hurt another innocent child. It makes me feel sick to think how he manipulated me. He told me he loved me and growing up I used to think, in his own way, he really did.
Now though, I know he didn’t care for me at all. Because thanks to Graham and my girls I finally know what real love is.
How a parent could have done this to his own daughter, I’ll never know…