A woman has told how her childhood was blighted after she was raped 'three or four times a week' by her sadistic father when she was just 12-years-old.
Carol Higgins, 50, from Pontefract in West Yorkshire, says her dad Elliot Appleyard, 72, treated her as his new wife after his marriage to her mother Jean broke down.
Waiving her right to anonymity, Carol told Femail how she hid a 'dirty secret' during her childhood as he sexually abused her for years - despite her calls for help.
Despite Carol's ongoing pleas to the police, it took more than three decades before Elliot of Gilthwaites Crescent, Denby Dale, West Yorkshire, was finally jailed for 20 years.
'That man violated my childhood in the worst possible way and has done his best to destroy my life,' said Carol, who has written an autobiography about the horrific abuse she was subjected to at the hands of her evil father.
'I've fought since being a teenager to get justice, but my calls for help were continually silenced and rejected by those who should have supported me the most.'
She added: 'I won't stop campaigning now until I know every victim of abuse, historic or present, can walk into a police station and their voice be heard.'
Elliot Appleyard was found unanimously guilty of five counts of rape and 10 of indecent assault, against his daughter, at Leeds Crown Court, last January.
'The relief was enormous,' said Carol, a motivational speaker and author. 'I'd carried the burden, humiliation and horror of what my so-called father had done to me for most of my life but finally the truth was out there, and I was no longer harbouring a dirty secret.'
The tirade of systematic abuse began when Carol was just 12-years-old, after her cruel father shot their family dog before forcing her to kiss him.
'The first time Dad kissed me, we had been on one of our regular scrap hunting trips,' she explained. 'Without any warning, he shot our beloved family dog, claiming he was having seizures.
'Afterwards, he sat down on a wall and gestured for me to sit on his lap, before pressing his lips to mine.
'I was confused and knew something wasn't right, but I was too scared to pull away and innocently assumed this is what all Daddies did with their daughters. From that day, Dad kissed me every time we went rummaging for scrap metal.'
It was several months before Carol plucked up the courage to tell her mother about the way her father had been kissing her.
Afterwards, Carol was visited by social workers while she was at school.
Although no further action was taken, within days her mother announced they were leaving the family home.
'To begin with, it was a relief but as the weeks passed it became harder,' explained Carol. 'We were staying in a grotty house and I had to sleep on the floor, so when Dad asked if I wanted to go home, I said yes.'
'To begin with Dad just acted like any normal father. He bought me clothes and I relaxed.
'A social worker still visited me at home and told me: "It's obvious you can't make up your mind who you want to live with, so if you change your mind again you will have to go and live in a children's home".'
It wasn't long before Appleyard's reign of abuse began once again. When Carol was 14, she had a party while her Dad was away.
'When he found out, Dad was furious,' she said. 'I was so frightened of what he would do, I started cutting myself with a kitchen knife.'
'Instead of taking me to hospital, he told me to sleep in his bed. I didn't dare argue, but a few hours later I woke up to find Dad leaning over me and stroking my tummy.
'He was telling me how beautiful I was before he leaned over to his bedside table for a condom and then raped me.
'I was numb with shock, but he acted as though he'd done nothing wrong. When I asked what Grandad would think, he replied: "Don't worry sweetheart, he believes the same as me, fathers should break their daughters in".'
From then on, Appleyard raped Carol several times a week and within months had placed an engagement ring on her finger and told her to call him by his nickname, Sam.
'I was his daughter, but he was treating me like his wife,' explained Carol. 'He kept me off school to do the cooking and cleaning, as well as insisting I had a red rose tattooed on my shoulder, with our names next to it.'
'Dad made me read porn magazines and pose for nude photos, violating me in the worst way possible.'
It was just before Carol turned 16 that she finally plucked up the courage to go back to her Mum and revealed everything her Dad had subjected her too.
When Carol's mum confronted Appleyard, his response was: 'Prove it.'
A week later, Jean took her daughter to Penistone police station, near Sheffield, where Carol made a 17-page statement.
But she was told if she took the case to court now her name would be dragged through the mud and she would be made out to be a liar.
'They did however tell me there was a possibility of investigating the case in the future,' explained Carol.
Over the next 35 years, she went back to the West Yorkshire police six times, but each time was told there wasn't enough evidence, after they had lost her original statement, and it would be her word against her father's.
It was only after Carol was diagnosed with bowel cancer, age 45 and went on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, that she decided once again to try and expose her father's heinous actions.
She wrote her autobiography, 'Conquering The Impossible: Making The Dream Come True', naming her father as her perpetrator and the abuse he had subject her too.
Carol's desperate pleas fell on deaf ears and the police investigation against her father was closed.
It was only after Carol appealed and evoked her right to review that in 2018 the CPS finally agreed to prosecute Appleyard.
Jailing Appleyard for 20 years in January 2019, Judge Rodney Jameson QC, said: 'She was a vulnerable child.
'You abused her repeatedly – essentially for 12 months you treated her as your wife. You used her for sex and abused her physically, as you did with your own wife.'
Carol added: 'It took over 35 years to see my evil father brought to justice but when the jury found him guilty a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.
'Finally, I had been believed and my father was behind bars unable to subject anyone else to the abuse that destroyed my childhood.
'I'm trying to rebuild my life now and fill it with positives, but I want every other victim out there to know they can get justice. It's a long hard battle but worth every minute to finally have your voice heard.'
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.