Rotherham grooming survivor says gang ringleader treated her like 'dead body on a slab'
A Rotherham grooming gang survivor says her abuser treated her like a 'dead body on a slab in a morgue' and branded him an 'absolute monster'.
Sammy Woodhouse, 35, was sexually abused as a 14-year-old by ringleader Arshid 'Ash' Hussain and bravely waived her anonymity as a rape victim to expose the paedophile gang.
She was subjected to horrendous abuse including rape, assaults and coercion with threats to kill her family at the hands of Hussain, and in 1999 at the age of 15, Sammy fell pregnant with the 25-year-old's baby.
Opening up about her experiences, she told how she was 'completely out of her depth' as a teenager and had no idea how 'dangerous' Hussain would be.
'I was pretty much his sex doll; he was an absolute monster. I just felt like a dead body on a slab in a morgue’, Sammy said.
Hussain was part of a Muslim grooming gang in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who along with many other groups abused over 1,000 children (predominantly white girls) between 1997 and 2013. He was jailed for 35 years in 2016 for 23 offences involving nine women, including Sammy.
From the age of four Sammy's dream was to be a dancer, and at 11-years-old she joined a national aerobics squad and began dancing all over the country.
However when her grades at school began to slip, her parents pulled her from the dance team.
Without dancing to pass the time, Sammy began spending more time with her friends, spending evenings in the park drinking and smoking.
Sammy first met Hussain through a friend and she quickly became besotted as he groomed the teen by taking her out, buying her presents, and paying her compliments.
While she was just 14, Sammy says she appeared even younger when the pair met and that she quickly started spending more and more time with her abuser.
'Things between him and me escalated really quickly,' she said.
'I had a curfew and I was constantly breaking curfew and that’s how my parents started to suspect things, because I was being late and sometimes not even coming home at all.'
Sammy was grounded when her parents found out about the relationship, telling how Hussain isolated her from her family by solely blaming Sammy's father for the family's concerns.
'What he did was actual very clever,' she said. 'He worked out the dynamics in my family, he knew my dad was more strict and my mum was more of a best friend. So what he did was started to turn me more against my dad rather than my mum.
'So he would say "Actually your dad doesn’t like me, but your mum likes me, but she’ll never admit it because she’s scared of your dad".'
Hussain was a drug dealer who Sammy says was feared in the area, but as a young and impressionable teen, she had no idea of the potential consequences.
As well as sexual abuse, Hussain forced Sammy to participate in criminal acts, including driving a stolen car after a post office raid, a burglary, and 20 counts of criminal damage.
'I was completely out of my depth', she said, 'I didn’t recognise it was dangerous and wrong I thought I’m a teenager having a bit of fun, how bad can things get.'
Sammy escaped her abuser when he was sent to prison in 2001 for a violent offence, but was instrumental in exposing the gang after she approached The Times anonymously with her claims, leading to the Jay Inquiry.