The atrocity committed by a school bus driver has finally come to light after he raped a girl when she was just 5 years old and subsequently led her to a cemetery where he pointed at the graves of his mum and dad and threatened to bury her next to them if she dared to say a word of the encounter to anyone.
Terrified Rebecca Leyland of Preston, Lancashire kept mum about the encounter out of fear but finally decided to speak up years after the attack from Fredrick Roskell.
Leyland, now 22, revealed that the attack came after the driver became pretty close to the family to the point of dating one of her aunts and taking the family for a ride at weekends with the school bus.
Roskell raped her on the back seat of the school bus on the fateful day which till date made the victim have a phobia for school buses that she resorted to hiding after school and walking home when the bus must have left.
According to Mirror UK, they also visited a local cemetery where they would play hide and seek, but on the fateful day of the attack, he let all the children off the bus except the victim and incidentally raped her.
Leyland said,“His big, bulky body loomed over me and then he pinned me down.
“I didn’t know what it was at the time. I was only five. But he raped me on the back seats of the school bus.
“I was confused and I didn’t know what was happening. I just knew that it hurt and I didn’t like it. When it was over I burst into tears.”
After the incident, the then innocent Leyland said she asked Roskell why he decided to hurt her.
“But he ignored me, and dragged me off the bus and into the cemetery,” she recalled.
“He took me to two graves and pointed at them. He said, ‘That’s my mum and dad and if you tell anyone what I did I’ll bury you next to them.’ I was terrified.”
She said, “He would abuse me whenever nobody else was around. The outings on the school bus that had once brought me such joy filled me with dread.
“I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I was too afraid to tell anyone in case he killed me.”
The relationship between the driver and Leyland’s aunt finally came to an end two years later and the victim was so glad the several abuse she suffered was over.
She suffered depression and anxiety, until she met Anthony in 2007.
“He was kind, sensitive, and caring, I felt myself opening up to him. I told him about what happened six months later. He was shocked but he held me as I cried, she said.
“He convinced me to tell mum. More than a decade had passed and I was worried she wouldn’t believe me.”
Rebecca’s mum told her to report Roskell to the police but she refused for fear of being haunted by the driver.
“I was constantly looking over my shoulder, afraid of who might be behind me.”
She became pregnant when she was 18 years old and had a daughter named Alexis, who is nearly four, in March 2011.
She continued, “As soon as I held her I felt an overwhelming rush of love. I knew I couldn’t let him abuse anymore innocent children.”
She went to the police station in Preston and officers took her statement – a move that Rebecca said was incredibly hard.
“Reliving every detail was awful, it brought back so many painful memories,” she said.
“But Frederick had stolen my childhood and my innocence. I wanted him locked up for what he’d done.”
In 2011 Roskell was arrested but it was July 2013 before the case went to court.
The rapist appeared at Preston Crown Court charged with six counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, and rape of a child under 13 but he denied the allegations.
He was later found guilty of raping Leyland and another minor under 13 years old.
He was jsentenced to serve a 16-year jail term in August 2013.
She said, “In that moment I realised, I was no longer scared of him. He was a monster, who’d taken advantage of an innocent young girl.
“Leaving the court felt like a huge weight being lifted. I’m now working to put the past behind me, and I’m focusing on my future.
“My rapist may have stolen my childhood, but he can’t take away my future.”
“It has undoubtedly removed a very dangerous man from the streets of Lancashire.”