Daddy raped me…
I was just a little girl – abused, starved and tortured...
Everyone has at least one fond memory from their childhood, right?
Building sandcastles on the beach, running around the local park, cuddles with Mum or Dad… Well, not me. My earliest memory is of my dad Colin Darlington abusing me in the bathtub.
I must have been around 18 months old.
And, as I splashed about in the water, Dad groped my private parts.
I was too young to understand what was going on.
The story of my childhood makes for difficult reading...
As I got older, Dad’s abuse just became part of my everyday life.
He refused to let me sleep in a proper bed.
Instead, I had to make do with a bare mattress on the cold, hard floor.
It was filthy and covered in urine and vomit stains.
‘Dirty kids sleep on the floor,’ Dad would sneer. I didn’t dare argue back. If I did, I’d feel the brunt of my dad’s fists.
My biological mum had passed away when I was just a few months old.
My father had married my stepmother Rebecca shortly afterwards.
But she was just as evil as Dad.
She’d stand back and watch as he kicked and smacked me.
‘You deserved that,’ she’d tut.
Then, when I was 3, Rebecca lifted me up and threw me onto the sofa.
Then she lifted up my nightie and watched as Dad raped me.
The pain was excruciating.
‘Please, Dad, stop!’ I sobbed to him brokenly, terrified.
‘Shut up!’ he shouted, ignoring my desperate pleas.
Rebecca just watched, not saying a word.
When it was finally over, they left me sobbing my heart out. I was still too young to understand what’d happened to me. But I was in so much pain, it was absolutely unbearable. I didn’t receive any sympathy from Rebecca, though. ‘Stop sniffling!’ she yelled at me. Over the next few years, Dad’s reign of terror and abuse continued. Rebecca even joined in. She’d push my face into Dad’s crotch, then touch me between my legs. Dad would make me stand in the living room for hours on end, with my arms and legs spread apart. If he saw me getting tired, he’d hit me with a slipper. And, while he and Rebecca tucked into meals every night, I went without. If I was lucky, they would feed me mouldy bread. But, most nights, I couldn’t sleep for my tummy growling. They’d make me scrub the toilet with a toothbrush, too. ‘Now clean your teeth!’ Dad would bark. But the most scarring thing of all was when they forced me to watch them having sex. ‘Watch and learn,’ my dad
When it was over, they left me sobbing in pain
would say harshly to me.
I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to be over.
And whenever he raped me, Dad warned me not to tell anyone.
‘All dads do this to little girls,’ he told me. And, naively, I believed him. Meanwhile, Dad and Rebecca played the doting parents to outsiders.
On my 5th birthday, a next-door neighbour made me a birthday cake.
‘How lovely,’ Rebecca smiled when they brought it over.
She and Dad made me pose for a photo with it.
Then, when our neighbour left, Rebecca tossed the cake into the bin and spat on it.
‘Now you can’t eat it,’ she snorted angrily.
Then, when I was 6, I was put into foster care by Social Services.
I’m not sure who called them.
I was just relieved it was finally over.
I was traumatised from the abuse, though.
I suffered terrible nightmares and flashbacks.
Aged 8, I was taken to a police station.
‘You need to tell the police the truth about your dad and stepmum,’ my social worker said gently to me.
So I had to give a video statement – but I was still so young, I didn’t know what sex was.
I’d never even heard anyone use that word before.
Without the language to describe what’d happened to me, I didn’t tell them about the sexual abuse.
And I was traumatised by it – just wanted to block it out.
After that, I didn’t hear from the police.
‘They don’t have enough evidence to prosecute them,’ my foster mum explained.
Of course, I was upset.
And over the next few years, as I grew older, I understood more of Dad’s abuse and just how wrong the things were that he’d done to me.
I felt sickened and disgusted.
How could a father do those terrible things to his little girl?
And how could Rebecca – my own stepmother – stand back and watch it all happen? When I was 15, it all got too much for me to keep inside and I broke down to a teacher. ‘Dad raped me!’ I cried. My teacher was horrified and called my foster parents and the police.
Once again, I had to make a statement to the authorities.
And, this time, I told the police all about the sexual abuse that I’d suffered.
‘You’ve been very brave,’ my foster mum said.
But we were later told there still wasn’t enough evidence to take the case to court. Again. I was in bits. ‘They’re getting away with it!’ I sobbed, devastated.
Dad and Rebecca had ruined my childhood.
Things spiralled out of control after that.
In November 2012, aged 17, I decided I just wanted to end it all.
I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with depression.
It was incredibly tough – but, over the next nine months or so, I managed to pick myself back up.
And in August 2013, I was finally discharged.
Feeling so much stronger now, I knew that I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing.
My father and stepmother Rebecca had controlled, humiliated and degraded me for years. But not any more. It was finally time for me to fight for justice.
I was traumatised – suffered nightmares, flashbacks
Gathering my courage, I wrote to my local MP Andy Sawford, begging for help.
My long letter detailed every disgusting thing Dad and Rebecca had done.
‘It’s a long shot, but I’m desperate,’ I told my foster mum.
To my surprise, just a week on, I received a reply.
Mr Sawford agreed to look into the case.
Before I knew it, I was called back to the police station to give another statement.
I’d been down this road twice before, though, and nothing had come of it. I was sure it’d happen again. But I was wrong… ‘We’ve charged your dad and stepmum,’ an officer said in 2014.
I couldn’t believe it. I broke down in tears, so relieved.
Afterwards, it became a waiting game for the trial.
I was told Dad and Rebecca were pleading not guilty.
So I prepared myself to give evidence in court.
In August this year, Colin and Rebecca Darlington, 52 and 46, appeared at court.
I just couldn’t bear to look at either of them. They disgusted me, made my skin crawl.
So I gave my evidence from behind a screen.
And, to my relief, the jury believed me.
Dad was found guilty of two counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault against me and another victim.
He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Rebecca Darlington was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault against me and another victim. She was jailed for eight years.
It turned out that, back in November last year, Colin Darlington had appeared in court for separate offences relating to yet another victim.
He’d been jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of two counts of rape of a female child under the age of 16, and 10 counts of indecent assault.
The sentences will run consecutively, meaning he’ll be in jail for 30 years. Justice, of sorts. The truth was out and they’d been punished.
But no sentence will ever undo the trauma that they’ve both caused me. I feel mentally scarred by their abuse.
My father and stepmother destroyed so much of me. But I can’t let them win. They were supposed to be my parents, the people who should have looked after me.
Yet they abused me in the sickest and worst way possible.
They’re not worthy of being called Mum and Dad.
They destroyed so much of me... I can’t let them win