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Daily Record - - NEWS -

e’s the back­flip­ping half of the funky duo Mis­un­der­stood, a star in Rob­bie Wil­liams’ eyes and one of the book­ies’ favourites to win The X Fac­tor.

While Stef Ben­son is liv­ing his dream, his child­hood was a liv­ing night­mare.

Stef, 25, who per­forms with part­ner Jeff Twu­masi, 27, spent time in fos­ter care where he claims he en­dured hor­ren­dous phys­i­cal abuse – beat­ings and be­ing burned with hot choco­late.

For the first time, he shares his ex­pe­ri­ences to per­suade any chil­dren suf­fer­ing in care to­day to speak out too.

“My story is not a sob story,” he says. “It’s real. Not a lot of peo­ple re­alise what can go on in fos­ter care. I wasn’t just beaten ev­ery day, I was tor­tured. It was ma­li­cious and all done be­hind a front.

“I have come through it with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude of re­silience. But some kids won’t. They might not feel they have a voice. So I want to say to any­one in care, ‘You do mat­ter. You are wor­thy. Please tell some­one if you’re un­happy’.”

Stef, one of five sib­lings, was seven years old when he was taken from his home in South East Lon­don along with his brother Bran­don, then six, and sis­ter Melissa who was a tiny baby. The mem­ory is vivid and painful.

“One minute I was just play­ing, the next I was be­ing dragged out of the sit­ting room and hauled into a car while my mum was cry­ing.

“My brother and sis­ter were with me. It was fran­tic. I knew some­thing big was hap­pen­ing be­cause of the sound of peo­ple sob­bing.”

Stef ’s mum Amanda, who was bring­ing up five chil­dren alone at the age of 29, asked so­cial ser­vices for short-term help be­tween jobs.

She was un­aware it would mean los­ing her three youngest chil­dren to the care sys­tem for two years.

Stef says: “My dad just wasn’t around. We’ve never had a con­nec­tion and I don’t even know what he looks like. And we were all OK with that be­cause we didn’t know any­thing else. My mum was so strong, and so there for us, it didn’t re­ally mat­ter that we didn’t have a dad.

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