Mum’s torment as monster who raped her demands access to child he fathered.
Russell Mellford – branded a monster by the judge who jailed him for 22 years – is demanding access to the girl
Karen Lee has bravely waived her right to anonymity
A rapist who fathered a baby girl is putting his victim and her daughter through a new hell from behind bars.
Russell Mellford – branded a monster by the judge who jailed him for 22 years – is demanding access to the girl.
The nightclub DJ has been allowed to send letters in a bid to establish contact.
Victim Karen Lee, 37 – Mellford’s former partner – has bravely waived her right to anonymity to speak exclusively to the Sunday Mirror.
The outraged mum said: “I can’t believe it. It is a sick joke.
“We’ve been failed by the system that allows him to do this to us, his victims.
Brutal Russell Mellford beat and raped Karen over a number of years
“He should be rotting in that cell but he is using his time to torment us. He is a serial rapist behind bars yet still able to terrorise us.
“I feel like he is violating me all over again.
“He is an evil, twisted monster and I know he will be getting a kick out of doing this to us.
“He has been found guilty of committing the most violent and hideous sex crimes against women.
“We were only just starting to get our lives back together and now this.
“It beggars belief. The system should not allow it.”
Karen believes any contact in the form of letters will be upsetting enough.
Her worst fear is that her daughter will be compelled to visit evil Mellford in prison – with guards standing by.
Karen suffered years of abuse from Mellford, who she met in her early 20s as a mum of two after her first marriage broke down.
He was 13 years older and, she thought, was a caring man.
She soon found out Mellford’s true, twisted nature.
The control freak, now 50, subjected her to merciless beatings and sex ordeals during their five years together.
Rough love-making turned into violent sex. When she cried he would pretend it was an accident and promise not to hurt her again.
If she threatened to leave he would turn on the tears, beg her to stay and butter her up by cooking and ironing.
When she did pluck up the courage to flee to her mum’s he would turn up crying and pleading for another chance.
Friends told Karen to leave Mellford once and for all. But, like so many abuse victims, she felt trapped and tried to keep on his “right” side even if that meant taking more beatings.
Her ordeal only worsened as Mellford raped her up to 50 times and beat her so badly that she was hospitalised on several occasions.
Calculating Mellford never left her side so she was unable to tell police or doctors the truth. In one terrifying attack, Mellford and fellow pervert Nicolas Lines raped Karen together – and she believes she was drugged.
Weeks later Karen found out she was pregnant.
She said: “I just hoped being pregnant meant the violence would stop. He knew that as they had both raped me his friend could be the father, but he said he was bringing the baby up as his, no matter what
“But that was the way he worked. When he’d been particularly violent and I did leave him, he would turn up at my mum’s crying and begging for another chance.”
Mellford was present when Karen gave birth and she knew immediately from the baby’s likeness that he was the dad.
She said: “The circumstances of her conception were awful, but I loved her dearly, no matter.
“She was the one good thing to come out of the hell he had put me through.”
Becoming a dad did not stop Mellford targeting Karen.
His beatings continued for another two years and Karen was taken to hospital once more, this time with a perforated ear drum and fearing for her life.
It was a wake-up call and Karen finally summoned the strength to run away. Initially, Mellford showed no interest in seeing the child so Karen began to rebuild her life.
She said: “I didn’t go to police because he had got away with abusing me for so long that I didn’t think I would get anywhere.”
When Mellford later applied for contact, terrified Karen finally reported the rapes because she was desperate to protect her daughter.
But when the police failed to bring charges she was forced by law to allow Mellford to see the girl.
Karen said: “It was awful. He was an animal yet I was being forced to hand my daughter to him because the police didn’t think there was enough evidence to convict him.
“She did not want to go and I did not want her to, but was powerless. I was in bits, but was told that unless I complied with the contact order I would be the one in jail.
“My daughter would come back upset and stay silent for hours. I cannot describe the torment, knowing he was alone with her. I just had to pray that she was safe.”
But all contact with Mellford was stopped abruptly when social services and police – investigating rape allegations from another woman – visited Karen.
They told her under no circumstances was Mellford to see her daughter.
Karen said: ‘“My blood ran cold but I was relieved that at last she didn’t have to see him.
“I had been saying for years he wasn’t safe to be around but nobody had believed me.”
Karen, who, lives in the South East, gave evidence from behind a screen at Mellford’s trial for attacks on her and another woman.
He was jailed and is held in HMP Isle of Wight. Fellow attacker Nicolas Lines, 50, got 14 years.
Judge Martin Joy said of Karen’s ordeal: “It must have been like a living hell.”
Detective Constable Barry Goodsell, who helped nail Mellford and Lines, said: “These two men subjected their victims to horrific ordeals that are going to impact them for the rest of their lives.”
Karen said of the verdict: “One part of me was pleased that justice was finally going to be served, the other was angry that it hadn’t been done much earlier.
“I finally felt like we had a fresh start, a chance to start again without that sick evil man controlling our lives. Neither of us wanted to set eyes on him again.”
The trial was last December. But in February this year Karen’s world was shaken once more when Mellford asked for contact.
Karen said: “I seriously thought it had to be a joke.”
She refused, hoping that would be the end of the matter.
But she said Mellford won’t take no for an answer and still wants to see the girl.
Karen, who was still being treated for post traumatic stress disorder following the trial, said: “I just broke down. I never thought I would have to see his face again. It was like he was haunting us.
“He has all the time in the world to torment us from his cell. I knew it was a sick game for him, a chance to toy with us all again.
“If he really had any remorse he would do the right thing and leave us alone.”
The protective mum is particularly worried about the effect Mellford’s request may have on her daughter.
Karen – now a mum of four and single – added: “I felt so sorry for her after all that we had been through. It was like no part of our lives was safe from him.
“My daughter doesn’t understand why he keeps causing so much upset. I am drained and not sure I can take much more. I want the nightmare to be over.
“But I am terrified it never will be. I thought we were free when he got jailed, but he is still terrorising us.”