Brave Layla Ball, 32, from Nottingham explains how she recorded her dad's sick words and went to the police...

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Dad beamed as I twirled in the new dress he’d bought me.

‘You’re daddy’s favourite,’ he whispered, scooping me up in his arms.

It was 1991, I was 7.

I had an older brother and little sister, and my mum and dad – Raymond Prescott, then 29 – had another on the way.

‘But you’re special,’ Dad would secretly tell me.

He’d always wanted a little girl, so when I’d arrived he’d spoilt me rotten.

I adored him, too – we were best mates.

But even at the age of 7, I was a bed wetter.

One morning, I woke up and, to my parents’ delight, I’d not wet the bed.

‘I’m proud of you,’ Dad said, grinning.

He said, as a treat, I could have the day off school.

Yes! I thought, excited.

My brother and sister were dropped off at school, and Mum must’ve been at work, as Dad and I were home alone.

He sat me on my bed.

‘I’ve got a present for you, for being a good girl,’ he said.

Dad spread my quilt out on the bedroom floor.

Only, then his hand crept up my nightie, inside my knickers. And he sexually assaulted me.

All I can remember is the pain, horror, bleeding.

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‘You’re my special girl,’ he smiled after. ‘This will be our little secret.’

Afterwards, Dad acted like my best friend again.

Confused, I went along with it, doting on him as ever.

Dad didn’t touch me again until I was about 9.

This time, he sat me on his bed, started chatting about puberty.

Then he stripped me.

‘You’ve got some pubic hairs coming through,’ he said.

Sick. Then he pushed me on the bed, started kissing my private parts.

I’d no idea what Dad was doing, but I hated it. It felt gross.

‘Remember, it’s our secret,’ he smiled after. ‘No-one can know that you’re my favourite.’

By the time I was 10 years old, I’d got used to him touching me.

Once he pulled me onto the sofa, started stroking my thigh and vagina.

I convinced myself it was normal, that all daddies did it.

Dad loves me, I told myself. I still thought the world of him.

So much so, that when Mum and Dad split when I was 12, I chose to live with him.

Mum was heartbroken, but Dad had groomed me, hidden his abuse so well.

At his new place, Dad gave me beer to drink, made me feel grown up. But I soon learned booze turned him into a Jekyll and Hyde character.

He’d turn from the best dad in the world to sexual predator in the blink of an eye.

His eyes would turn narrow and creepy. He’d grope me, touch me.

I began to understand how wrong it was, started to hate myself.

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Disgusted by my developing body, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.

Over time, I learned to spot signs when the booze was taking hold and Mr Hyde was about to appear.

‘I’m going to see some mates,’ I’d say, fleeing the house.

Yet I still couldn’t shake my loyalty to Dad.

At 14, I turned to drink and drugs to numb the pain.

Then, during Christmas when I was 17, I got drunk one night and Dad took me to my bedroom.

Only he then shut the door behind him.

‘You’re gorgeous,’ he said.

Unable to fight back, I lay helpless as he raped me.

The next morning he came back into my room.

‘I had sex with my daughter last night,’ he yelled, laughing.

Horrific.

After, raw emotion swirled through me.

On the one hand, I loved Dad, on the other, I wished he was dead.

So I kept Dad’s filthy secret, drinking more than ever to block out the memories.

But after that, I managed to keep him away.

If he did drunkenly creep into my room, a firm ‘get out’ stopped him in his tracks.

Until December 2012, when Dad tried to attack me again.

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A friend and I were spending some time with him.

Dad got so drunk we had to carry him upstairs.

‘I want to talk to you,’ Dad slurred, calling me into his bedroom.

He grabbed me, stuck his tongue down my throat, tried to make me touch his penis.

‘Stop it!’ I yelled.

I got away and out of Dad’s place, but in the car, I broke down.

‘What’s wrong?’ my mate gasped, worried.

Everything that had happened spilled out.

‘Go back, record him confessing,’ she said.

I was a bag of nerves, but enough was enough…

So, with my mobile phone hidden in my pocket and switched to Record, I confronted Dad.

‘It’s wrong and you know it,’ I raged, shaking.

Dad’s reply stunned me.

‘I have already f*cked you,’ he said. ‘We have had sex. No-one will find out, we’ll keep it a secret.’

He was confessing! Sickening.

‘Why me? I don’t understand,’ I cried, head spinning.

‘I know it’s wrong, it’s my daughter – I wish you weren’t my daughter. The best sex I have ever had in my life is with you,’ Dad said.

Repulsed by what I had heard, I left.

But despite having all the evidence I needed, I was still terrified, couldn’t bring myself to go to the police.

Instead I went on drink and drug-fuelled binges, self-harmed.

Eventually, a few months later, in February 2013, I drunkenly confided in my brother.

Worried about my destructive behaviour, he told Mum.

She sobbed listening to Dad’s confession.

‘The b*stard’s not getting away with it,’ she raged.

Mum phoned the police, and I gave a statement.

I knew Mum felt guilty, but Dad was the only one to blame.

Still, despite having him on tape, he denied everything.

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Last May, Dad – Raymond Prescott, 54 – went on trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

I wept while giving evidence.

Experts testified that it was definitely Dad’s voice on the tape – and, thankfully, the jury rejected Dad’s lies.

He was found guilty of rape, sexual assault and four counts of indecent assault.

At first, I felt numb…and then I broke down crying.

It was finally all over, I’d been believed. And Dad had been jailed for 12 years.

My dad was supposed to protect me, instead he destroyed me.

I suffer mood swings now, need medication, can’t hold down a stable relationship.

Yet I’m sober, about to start a nursing course.

I don’t consider myself a survivor – I’m not there yet.

But one day, while Dad’s still rotting behind bars, I will be.

 

During the recorded confession, Prescott says, ‘I have already f****d you. We have had sex. No-one will find out, we’ll keep it a secret. I can’t have sex with anyone else and enjoy it, so I want to have sex with you. You are the only one I have had sex with and had some meaning to it. I know it’s wrong, it’s my daughter – I wish you weren’t my daughter. The best sex I have ever had in my life is with you. It’s sick, I know it is, it’s sick.’