A British woman has spoken about her 13 years of slavery and degradation at the hands of a family man, which began when she was captured as a teenager. Anna Ruston – whose name has been changed to protect her privacy – gave birth to four of her captor's children before they were taken away from her and sold.
She was locked in the basement of the taxi driver's family home which he shared with his brothers, their wives, children and his mother. She has now gone public about her nightmare after pulling off a miraculous escape with the help of a health visitor.
At 15, Anna Ruston was vulnerable. "My nana died when I was 10 and my parents didn't want me," she told Daily Mirror. "If anyone showed me affection I grabbed hold of that." When taxi-driver Malik started speaking to her it was "nice to have someone interested", she said.
One day she accepted an offer to have tea with Malik and his family at their home. As she drank and ate refreshments with them nothing seemed untoward. She was unconcerned when she was offered a room for the night and accepted their offer.
"I assumed he would take me home in the morning," she said. But instead Malik burst into the room later and called her a "filthy white sl**" before violently raping her and locking the door. Except for visits to the hospital, she would not leave the house again for 13 years. "He knew no-one would miss me," she said on reflection.
Malik raped her repeatedly over the next 13 years and prostituted her out to other men. Anna says that the other women in the home showed her sympathy and gave her pain killers but "were too scared to say anything" because "they were being abused too".
Anna carried four children while in captivity and gave birth at hospital each time but was quickly taken home by Malik and parted from her babies. Only when health visitors arrived would she be reunited with her children to create the pretence of normal family life. After the visits stopped, the children were sold. "I do not know where they are," she said, adding that her lost children can never be replaced: "When you feel a baby move in your stomach you feel you have someone with you, you are not alone."
She attempted suicide on numerous occasions by taking an overdose of painkillers. Finally, she made an attempt to escape. She dropped a piece of paper on the floor during a health visitor inspection. It read "help me" and gave a date when she knew the family would be distracted, The health visitor handed her a form in return saying: "I will ring the house phone three times and hang up when I am outside."
The day came, the phone rang, and as she predicted, the family were distracted by the Muslim festival of Eid. Anna unlocked the front door and ran into the arms of her saviour.
Anna has been recovering for the last 16 years and has only now been able to tell her story. She told the Daily Mirror that she still suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues. She said: "I can still see that bedroom, the corner where I would rock in pain. Although after a while I stopped feeling pain, I think my body shut down ... and I can smell it – the can I used as a toilet, the garlic he reeked of. I got to the point where I didn't know what life was."