Two sisters have revealed how they suffered in silence for 12 years as their own father sexually abused them.
Nicola Twomey, now 22, and Emma Wills, 27, were repeatedly abused by Kevin Twomey, who turned their family home in Port Talbot, South Wales, into a place of fear and pain.
The abuse of Nicola started when she was just five-years-old and culminated in Twomey raping her when she was a teenager.
The siblings – conflicted by their love for their father and fear of breaking up their family – lived with their terrible secret for more than a decade before they eventually told their mother and the police the truth.
Nicola said: ‘He was my dad. I loved him so much and I didn’t think he could hurt me like that.’
The sisters share their story in tonight’s episode of ‘Britain’s Darkest Taboos’ on the Crime and Investigation Network.
Elder sister Emma reveals how, after a happy start to childhood with her brother and younger sister, Twomey first started abusing her when she was just 10-years-old.
‘I kept telling him, you’re hurting me, I don’t want to play your game no more’
She recalled: ‘I remember it like it was yesterday, unfortunately. I was going to start a piggy bank and my dad called me upstairs into his room and said he was going to give me money to start a piggy bank. I had to close my eyes and put my hands out and he’d give me money.
‘Obviously… it wasn’t money. I opened my eyes to see what he was doing and I ran downstairs and hid.’
On another occasion, she recalled how he groped her breasts telling her she needed to have them massaged if she wanted them to grow.
‘When he was abusing me, he wasn’t himself. He wasn’t the father that I loved and respected. It was like somebody had taken over his body and he was a completely different person,’ Emma said.
She was afraid to tell anyone after Twomey told her she must keep it a secret and she feared even if she did confess, nobody would believe her as her father was a respected member of the community.
Emma began to reject her father’s advances and avoided being alone with him in their house. But she didn’t realise that if her father couldn’t have her, he would turn to her younger sister instead, even though she was only five-years-old.
Nicola said when he started abusing her he told her it was a game. Although he hurt her, Nicola was too young to realise her father was doing anything wrong or abusing her trust in the most abhorrent way.
She said: ‘He just put his hand on my leg and then I didn’t think nothing of it and it just started getting higher and higher and then he put his hand on my private parts.
‘Because I was so young I didn’t think it was anything wrong and I just sat there and then when he was finished he lifted me off his lap, put me on the floor and I just ran out and I didn’t think nothing off it. At the time I thought it was normal.’
She added how her father would touch her and make her touch him on a regular basis under the guise of playing a game – even though Nicola quickly learnt this ‘game’ was no fun.
She said: ‘I knew he was hurting me and I didn’t like it. I kept telling him, you’re hurting me, I don’t want to play your game no more and he wouldn’t really stop so I’d start crying. Then he’d stop, he’d walk out and I’d just be sitting there crying.
‘Every time he’d finish he’d always say, “please don’t say anything, it’s our little secret, you’re going to break up the family if you do say anything”‘
Nicola only realised when she started school that her father’s behaviour wasn’t normal. But like her sister, she was too afraid to tell anyone for fear she wouldn’t be believed. She also idolised her father and didn’t want to destroy their family.
Nicola explains: ‘My dad did a lot for the community, he used to do the scoring for the cricket team, he used to play Santa at Christmas times at the community centres, did a lot of work with rugby. He was well respected in the community. I was proud of my dad, there were a lot of things that my dad did that I looked up to him and he was so respected.
‘From an outsider looking in we were the perfect family, we were happy, we did a lot of stuff together, you know, we were perfect.’
The abuse only got worst as Nicola got older as her father forced her to participate in oral sex.
Unable to confide in anybody, she instead wrote about what had been happening in her diary.
She said: ‘Every time he’d finish he’d always say, “please don’t say anything, it’s our little secret, you’re going to break up the family if you do say anything, you know that don’t you?”
‘Sort of manipulating me to think that my whole world would come crumbling round me and I’d lose everything if I told anybody about it.’
She added: ‘I lived in fear all the time. I always thought to blame myself. I thought, “why is he doing it to me, is it my fault, am I doing something?” I always tried to be the best daughter I could possibly be when we were out and about as a family because I thought if I’m good maybe he’ll stop.’
Emma eventually discovered her sister had also been abused by their father after reading her diary one day. She was stunned that her father had moved on to her younger sister after she had rejected him.
‘I thought he would never do anything to my sister because I had pushed him away so many times. I didn’t think he’d try it with my sister,’ she said.
The girls felt better knowing they had one another to confide in but they are still too scared to speak out.
‘We didn’t know what to do because we couldn’t say anything because who’d believe two little girls over a respected man? Because we were such a close family we didn’t want to split us all up,’ Emma said.
The when Emma was 22, she moved out of the family home after having a daughter, Amelia.
Nicola was then 17-years-old and had been fitted with a contraceptive implant as she had started a sexual relationship with a boy her age and didn’t want to fall pregnant.
But her predatory father used this to his advantage to take his abuse of her a horrific step further by raping her.
Nicola said: ‘I knew what he was capable of but I never thought he’d go that far, I never thought he’d go as far as to rape me, ever in a million years. He was my dad, do you know what I mean, and I never thought he was capable of that. Obviously he was.’
Nicola finally realised she had to speak out. Seeing her father with her baby niece, Amelia, spurred her on further as she feared if she didn’t report him, he could one day abuse her too.
‘I knew in my head that something had to be done, I needed to go to the police,’ she said.
Nicola first confided in her mother and then they called the police in June 2008.
‘I never thought he’d go as far as to rape me, ever in a million years. He was my dad, I never thought he was capable of that’
Emma said she horrified and weighed down by guilt when she discovered her sister had been raped.
‘When I found out that he’d raped her, my world kind of came crashing down because I thought I could have stopped that if I had spoken out a bit earlier. If I had said something the first time it had happened to me he probably never would have started with her,’ she said.
Twomey was arrested and later charged but denied all the allegations against him.
His daughters had to recount their abuse in horrific detail to the police and then give evidence via video link in court.
In April 2009, Twomey was found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault, five sexual assaults and two counts of rape on Nicola. He was also convicted of attempted indecent assault and indecent assault on Emma. He was given a total of 14 years and six months imprisonment.
Nicola said it was a huge relief when her father was found guilty.
‘The fact that they believed me meant so much to me because that’s what I was scared of, nobody believing me and I was going to go to the police station and they were just going to laugh me out of there and I was going to have to live with it. And Amelia was going to have to live with it. But the fact that they believed me meant a lot,’ she said.
Emma added: ‘Getting it all out in the open was the right thing to do, we should have done it earlier but better late than never.’
Twomey will be eligible for parole in 2016 and Emma said she will never forgive him for what he has done.
The girls are now looking forward to a future without their father. Emma has had another child and Nicola has become a mother for the first time.
Nicola said: ‘I’m really happy, I’ve got an amazing partner, I’ve got an amazing little boy, we’ve got an amazing life together.
‘It will live with me forever and it will be a big part of my life until the day I die but I live every day as it comes and I am thankful for what I’ve got, I really am.’
Read more: Daily Mail