STARING at her phone, Sammy Woodhouse felt her blood freeze as yet another death threat filtered through – this time aimed at her son.
Shaking, she rang the teenager and told him to lock the doors and turn on the alarms.
Shockingly, eight years after she blew the whistle on the Rotherham paedophile ring that groomed and raped her from the age of 14, the threats are still very real today.
In the years that she was abused by Arshid Hussain, she was raped and beaten hundreds of times, forced to have an abortion and used “like a sex doll.”
Ignored by the authorities, Sammy took her story to a national newspaper in 2013.
A subsequent report found 1,400 children had been abused by the gang, which included two of Hussain's brothers, while police and social services turned a blind eye.
The traumatic ordeal, which Sammy recalls in Monday’s episode of Survivors with Denise Welch, on Crime+Investigation, left her suffering from depression and suicidal.
But even after more victims came forward, and Hussain was jailed for 35 years for child grooming in 2015, Sammy says she is attacked by trolls who “victim blame” her.
“It’s never-ending,” Sammy,35, tells the Sun. “I get threats from members of the public calling me a liar, saying I made the whole thing up.
“I've even had professionals [within the police and social services] that I've been a witness against turning up my door, and telling dangerous people, who threatened me and my children, where I lived.”
Earlier this month, we revealed members of another child abuse ring, in Rochdale, have avoided being deported for SIX YEARS after being released from prison.
Four of the nine jailed abusers, who have dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, were told by the Home Office they would be deported after serving their sentence.
Now furious Sammy has blasted the Home Office for putting the brave victims of the Rochdale ring, and other children, at risk.
“These victims have been incredibly brave to come forward and testify in court,” she says.
“They've put their faith in the system and the system has failed them.
“Not only are the victims and families at risk from these dangerous people but so are other children.”
Starstruck by 'fit' 24-year-old
Growing up in Rotherham, Sammy came from a solid, loving background and was a keen dancer, performing and training with a local dance troupe several times a week.
But when her grades started to suffer, and she was forced to give up her hobby, she began to hang out in the park with “a packet of fags and a litre of white lightning.”
Shortly after her 14th birthday, in 1999, Hussain approached Sammy and a friend, who already knew him, and offered to take them for a spin in his sporty silver Astra.
“I knew his brother so he didn’t feel like a stranger,” she says.
“The first time I saw him, I was quite starstruck by him. He was 24, really fit, designer clothes, a big gold chain and a nice car.
“We had no idea at the time, but the moment I got into that car was the moment that my life changed forever.
“I would go on to be groomed, abused, raped, criminalised and sexually exploited for several years.”
From that moment, Sammy had daily contact with Hussein – known as ‘Mad Ash’ – and within four weeks, they had sex.
“I never saw myself as a victim of grooming or abuse,” she says. “He was my boyfriend.
I was his sex doll. There to have sex whenever he wanted.
“In the beginning, he didn’t pin me down and force me. It was something I was doing because I thought that’s what you did in a relationship.
“My real sex education came from him and no child’s sex education should come from a paedophile. He taught me things I’ve never heard of.
“On one occasion we were in a hotel and he anally raped me.
“I was his sex doll. There to have sex whenever he wanted.”
'I felt like a body on the slab'
Sammy also suffered violent beatings and psychological abuse.
On one occasion, he drove to the top of a hilltop with a sheer drop and said he would drive off it and kill them both.
Then he slammed on the brakes, pulled her out the car and threatened to throw her off it.
“I was that scared I wet myself and he put me in the back of the car like nothing had happened and had sex with me.
“I felt nothing at all. The only way I can describe is that I felt like a dead body on a slab in a morgue.”
Sammy, who disappeared with Hussain for days and weeks at a time, was frequently reported missing by her distraught parents but no charges were ever brought against Hussain because Sammy refused to make a statement.
At one point, police contacted Hussain’s family and told him if he brought her home they wouldn’t prosecute.
On another occasion, police raided his home while they were in bed together but Hussain got off scot free while Sammy was charged with possessing a baton.
Sammy was also roped into his criminal activities – even being forced to take part in an armed robbery as her “15th birthday present.”
She was also charged with assault after he forced her into a fight with another girl.
Stomach punches and scalding bath to bring on miscarriage
When she got pregnant, her parents threatened to use the baby’s DNA to jail Hussain so, after punching her in the stomach, he told her to drink castor oil and sit in a scalding hot bath to bring on a miscarriage.
“I remember sitting in that bath, crying hysterically, knowing that I was killing my baby,” she says.
“But I would do anything to protect him.”
When that didn’t work, Sammy was forced to have an abortion. She soon fell pregnant again, but this time she kept her son.
Infatuated, Sammy also ignored stories that Hussain was sleeping with numerous friends of hers, all underage.
“I didn’t see it as rape” she says. “What I saw was my boyfriend sleeping with all my friends, which wasn’t right. It was as if he put a spell on me.
“Grooming is the most dangerous of crimes because it's a silent crime. It happens without you even realising. But it's also fun.
"There are a lot of survivors who are scared to say that they had some of the best times of their lives, because you get victim blamed and people say you deserved it.
“Out of all the things that he did – the physical, sexual and emotional abuse – it was the grooming that has been the most harmful for me.
“It’s something that haunts me today and I think it will for the rest of my life.”
Depression and suicide attempts
When she and her young son finally escaped Hussain’s clutches, it was years before she realised she had been a victim of paedophilia, and it hit her hard.
“I was diagnosed with severe depression and placed on medication, which I stopped taking because it left me feeling numb and I wanted to deal with my problems,” she says.
“My whole life had been a lie and I blamed myself. I felt dirty, I felt disgusting. I felt beneath society.
“I thought ‘what am I going to tell my son?' He would have to deal with the fact that his mum was raped, his dad was the person that did it and he was born through that.
“On multiple occasions, I tried to end my life. Thankfully none of that worked.”
After several attempts to get police and social services to take action, brave Sammy took her story to the Times and South Yorkshire Police finally began to look into the exploitation of children in Rotherham.
Arshid Hussain, his brothers Basharat and Bannaras and a taxi driver associate, Qurban Ali were jailed for between 10 and 35 years.
Incredibly, when her teenage son was having problems and Sammy went through the family court to get help, Hussain was invited to apply for custody and her son was encouraged to visit him in prison, which he declined.
“I found out that a phone call from prison was made to my son and that had very serious consequences for both of us, which I won't go into detail about,” she says.
“But this was happening to people all over the country. Women that have been abused, and raped, are having their children removed, or allowed near these very dangerous people.”
Sammy began a campaign with MP Louise Haigh which resulted in the publication of the Harm Report, which recommended changes in the way family courts approach allegations of domestic abuse in childcare battles.
She is also campaigning for Sammy’s Law, which would see victims of grooming being pardoned for crimes they were coerced into committing.
But Sammy says seeing the Rochdale paedophiles roaming free, six years after being released from jail, has shown how broken the system is.
Dozens of girls as young as 13 were assaulted or raped in the town. Qari Abdul Rauf, Abdul Aziz, 50, and Adil Khan, 51, were jailed in 2012 and, three years later, the Home Office said they would be deported – but they are still in the UK.
“When you put somebody away for a long time, the perpetrator isn't going to forget that. They blame their victims,” Sammy says.
“They want to cause harm to those victims and to their families.
“If the decision was made for them to be deported, that's what should have happened.
“This shows we have a system that's more catered towards the criminal than the victim.
“People say to me all the time, what was it like when your abuser went on trial? And I say he never did. I did.”
While she’s considered giving up the campaigns, in the face of threats, Sammy has vowed to carry on fighting.
“I spent thousands of pounds on security and I've got cameras and microphones everywhere, as well as six foot gates, “ she says.
“My bedroom has been turned into a panic room with heavy bolts on the door.
“I am cautious but I have to outweigh the good with the bad and this is something I’m passionate about.
“The people who try to threaten and intimidate me want me to stop. I won’t give them that satisfaction.”
Survivors with Denise Welch continues on Crime+Investigation on Mondays at 9pm
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