'I was raped by my own father' – Newburytoday.co.uk exposes Hungerford community leader as a monster hiding 'in plain sight'
A father and disgraced former community leader can today be exposed as a monster who raped his own daughter.
For decades the retired insurance broker enjoyed good standing in his community, in recent years chairing his local residents' association.
But Martin Richard Prew, of Ramsbury Drive, Hungerford, was a man with a dark, hidden past.
As he begins a lengthy prison sentence, the daughter he once violated has spoken out to inspire others.
Sarah Mo praised the police investigation which vindicated her, and has urged other victims of historic sexual abuse to also come forward.
Ms Mo said: “As a child I idolised my father. We had a comfortable, middle class life. But when I was six, my whole life changed when my father uttered the words: ‘This is our secret, you mustn’t tell mummy or anyone else’.”
In a statement to the judge who would ultimately remove Prew from society, she said: “Having a secret with him made the small child that I was feel special.
"But with that came the fear – the huge overwhelming fear – about the escalating abuse.
“My psychological problems began – dissociation, depersonalisation, anxiety, night terrors, despair.
“And the confusion that came from having the only adult in the world that I loved and trusted do things to me that I didn’t understand, that I didn’t like, and knew on some level weren’t right.”
Over the years the abuse escalated into rape.
Ms Mo said: “It became my everyday reality.”
She was left with a ruined childhood and a lifetime of trauma and said: “The despair became overwhelming and I began to consider suicide from the age of 12.
"The abuse I suffered has had an immeasurable impact on my life – psychologically, emotionally, physically, and socially.
"There has been no part of my life that has not been affected.”
In her statement Ms Mo added: “I knew that there was something wrong with me, that I was a bad person, because otherwise why would my wonderful father have been abusing me?
“I have carried this shame with me throughout my adult life.”
Everything changed when she became a mother, and an aunt, and could not bear the thought of her loved ones suffering similar abuse.
Aged 30, she told her mother and confronted Prew.
He showed no remorse, she said.
Ms Mo added: “My father was hiding in plain sight; a respectable member of the community; chairman of the Ramsbury Drive residents’ association and a company director.”
Prew only resigned from the residents’ association in the weeks before his jailing at Kingston Crown Court last month.
He was sentenced to 11 years and three months imprisonment for a string of charges including unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13 years.
Ms Mo said: “Afterwards, I felt validated. My story had been heard.
"I have cut off contact with my mother.
"I last saw my father in 2001; he asked when he would see me again.
“I replied: ‘You will never see me again.’
"He had shown no remorse, asked for no forgiveness, or things might have been different, even then.
"My children have had no relationship with their maternal grandparents and they don’t want one.
“My childhood was taken away from me and changed me and my personality to the core.
“I will never know what kind of child and adult I would have been if I had grown up in a loving, safe home without abuse.
"This was ripped away from me by my father, one of the people I should have been able to trust completely, who saw me as an object for his gratification and totally disregarded me as a person, as a child – as his child.”
She added: “Childhood sexual abuse thrives in silence and secrecy.
“By taking away that silence and speaking out, I wanted to disable my father’s power and take my power back.”
The investigating officer, Nik Stilliard, said: “First and foremost, I would like to commend Sarah for her bravery in reporting the crimes that her father committed against her, and working very closely with me so that we could put forward a case which ultimately secured a lengthy custodial sentence for Martin Prew.
“I sincerely hope that the result will give Sarah some well-deserved respite, and bring hope to other victims who may have reservations about coming forward.”
She added: “A message which I hope comes through in this story is that the [Metropolitan Police] is devoted to ending crimes such as this which we know can be detrimental to the lives and wellbeing of victims.
"We want to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
“Victims can also approach many of our charity partners and speak completely anonymously to Crimestoppers if they do not feel comfortable talking to police in the first instance.
"There are many options available, and we can make sure that you have access to the support you need.”