Rotherham Child Sexual Abuse Survivor Says ‘Monster’ Gang Ringleader Treated Her Like ‘Dead Body on a Slab’
Monica Greep, Daily Mail, March 24, 2021
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 experience on Crime+Investigation programme Survivors, 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 gang in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who along with many other groups abused over 1,000 children between 1997 and 2013. He was jailed for 35 years in 2016 for 23 offences involving nine women, including Sammy.
‘I grew up in Rotherham, about two and a half miles from the town centre’, said Sammy. ‘I was your average, everyday little girl I suppose.’
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
‘It was great. We would get a minibus and go to my coach and manager’s house in the morning and get your hair and make-up done and we’d all chant songs,’ she recalled.
However when her grades at school began to slip, her parents pulled her from the dance team, with Sammy admitting: ‘I started to develop a little bit of a lip, so my parents thought by doing that as a punishment would be the best thing.
‘I think for me when I stopped dancing it had a massive effect, it was something I focused my whole life around. So for that to be stopped and taken away, it did affect things.’
Without dancing to pass the time, Sammy began spending more time with her friends, spending evenings in the park drinking and smoking.
‘There was a particular area where my dad grew up and he hated me being there’, said Sammy. ‘He always said if you go out you are not allowed to be in that area.
‘It was known for people going out smoking cannabis, drinking, my dad didn’t want me involved in that and my life had gone from being a dancer to going up to the park with a packet of fags and litre of White Lightning with my mates. That was what my life was, that was cool for us to do.’
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.
‘I was on my local shop with a friend and he started to drive up the street in a silver Astra and I will never forget the first moment I saw him,’ said Sammy.
‘He was good looking, he was well dressed, he had a big gold chain on…I was just instantly mesmerised by him.’
She added: ‘I just thought, “Wow who’s he?”. He made me feel like an adult and I remember as a kid I always wanted to be an adult, I always wanted to be further on in my years than I was and he made me feel that way.’
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”.’
She went on: ‘I started to go missing quite a lot, not just for days but for months and weeks at a time.’
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.
‘A lot of people feared him and for me where I live and grew up that wasn’t necessarily something I had never heard of’, she said, ‘It didn’t really bother me, it is what it is. You don’t as a kid think about consequences, I just went with the flow.’
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.