It’s every mother’s worst nightmare – finding out the man you married and the father of your child has been abusing them.
‘Alice Wells’ – the alias she is using – appeared on This Morning to discuss her own experience of that very nightmare.
The 45-year-old doctor and mother-of-two recalled discovering that her husband was a paedophile with hundreds of images of him abusing their own daughter, who was just four at the time, on his computer.
‘Alice’ was clueless until she returned home one day ten years ago to find that her husband was missing and there was a police search warrant for ‘Child Pornography’ left on her kitchen counter.
Hours later she was informed that Mark – who had been viewing images of pre-pubescent children and was also running a child pornography website – had been involved in a fatal car crash three hours after he had been interviewed by the police for six hours.
Remaining anonymous during an interview on This Morning, Alice explained: ‘In some ways I think it is a great blessing that he has died, because it would have been a lot worse to potentially have to take my children to have to visit him in prison, or maintain a relationship for their benefit.’
Presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield listened in horror as ‘Alice’ recounted her tale.
She described the moment she discovered that her husband, who was in the US Air Force and in his forties when she met him age 26 and relocated to the US for him, had around 800 images of their own daughter Grace stored on his computer.
‘The blessing was not all of that information came all in one go. It took about six to eight weeks.
‘About a month after Mark died, we all got a stomach virus and Grace became delirious.
‘During that delirium it became apparent that she had been abused because she started to gesture things that no four-year-old should gesture, they would have no knowledge of it.’
‘That is just so awful,’ a clearly distressed Holly responded, before going on to query how Grace was doing years later.
‘She is doing great; she’s a normal teenager for the most part,’ said her mother, who now lives back in England with her family. ‘She does have physical memories of what has happened. We leave an open door to it, she knows she can come to talk to me about it.’
But for her younger son Joseph, he still believes his father did nothing wrong, and Alice added: ‘I dread that day I have to break his world.’
‘Alice’ has penned a book based on her experiences, Eating the Elephant: A True Story of Loss, Betrayal and Abuse, in which she struggles to learn how to survive the impact and piece together her shattered world.
*All names have been changed