Incredibly brave woman from near Stansted who endured 10 years of child abuse speaks out to encourage other victims to come forward
PUBLISHED: 11:47 31 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:47 31 December 2015
The teenage victim of a convicted paedophile has spoken out about the ten-year abuse she suffered at the hands of a man she viewed as a "father figure".
Where to report child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse can be reported to police on 101, Essex Social Services on 0845 603 7630, Childline on 0800 1111, the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, the Stop It Now helpline on 0808 1000 900 or online at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre’s website, which is found at www.ceop.police.uk.
Daniella Hudson, 19, who has bravely waived her right to lifetime anonymity, was speaking after the sentencing of her mother’s ex-boyfriend, Lee Bass, at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, December 21.
Bass, 40, formerly of Manor Road, Stansted Mountfitchet, now of Lordscroft Lane, Haverhill, was jailed for six years for 14 sexual offences between November 2001 and November 2011.
A jury convicted Bass of three offences of sexual assault, one indecency with a child, seven offences of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, two of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one sexual activity with a child.
Daniella said the abuse began when she was just five years old when Bass would visit her mother at their home in Takeley.
She said: “It started when he’d take me out on drives and play this game when he’d touch my thigh and get me to touch him. I didn’t understand it at the time.
“It was only when I started to get a bit older that I began to realise what was going on. Things got worse when he moved in with us at our new home near Stansted and began to feel more comfortable.
“My mum would work four nights a week as a care assistant at a nursing home, which meant he was looking after me. From there, things became a regular occurrence.
“Our shower didn’t have a lock on it, and he would always come in while I was in there.”
The abuse had a profound effect on Daniella, who said she did not report Bass at the time for fear of betraying her mother’s relationship with her abuser.
“I regarded him as a father figure, but I feel as though I lost my teenage years to him. I lost all my confidence and struggled at school, despite being predicted good grades.
“I couldn’t talk to anyone. I comfort ate a lot and put on weight. I even stopped showering in the hope he wouldn’t come near me.
“Being just a kid, I didn’t think anyone would believe what he was doing to me, and I didn’t want to betray my mum who was in a long-term relationship with him.”
Daniella remained silent over the ten-year period, before finally confiding in a teaching assistant at Harlow College a year and a half ago.
The discovery that Bass was living with a mother and small child in his new relationship was the motivation behind her decision to come forward.
She said: “When I found out he was living with a child, who was the same age as me when it all started, I thought ‘I can’t let this happen to anybody else’.
“Stories like mine aren’t in the public a lot, and I wanted to get the message across to other children that parents and other people will believe and listen to you.
“They may even think what is happening to them is normal, so I wanted to get my story out there to try and help anyone who is going through what I went through.”
Despite the actions of Bass, Daniella admits she did have mixed feelings as she watched her abuser being sentenced in person at Chelmsford Crown Court.
She said: “I know he deserved it, and I know that I shouldn’t but I did feel a bit of sympathy for him. He was still basically my dad for ten years, and that is quite confusing. But he did deny everything through the whole trial, so if I saw him again, I would ask him why he called me a liar.
“I am beginning to feel better about the situation though, and it does feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
Daniella is in the first year of a design degree at university, and says her eyes are now firmly fixed on the future.
“My life has been so much better since I told someone about this. I have friends now who I go out with, have a job, and I’m starting to live a normal life.
“After university, I’d like to start my own business doing graphic design and web design, but I’d also like to do some work with children who have been victims of abuse as I don’t think there is much out there in the way of support.
“I know exactly what they’re going through, so I’d like to be able to help.”