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Mother reveals her 15-year-old daughter has been sexually assaulted by her best-friend since age 13

Mother reveals her 15-year-old daughter has been sexually assaulted by her best-friend since age 13

A mother of four recalls the horrific moment when she discovered her best friend sexually abused her teenage daughter – who saw him as a father figure.

Natasha Lewis, 40, had been friends with Ricky Powis, 42, for 15 years and was considered part of the family.

But unbeknownst to Natasha, Powis started a campaign of abuse against her daughter, Ellie Lewis, now 16, when she was only 13 years old.

For a year, Powis, who had a daughter Ellie’s age, fell on the vulnerable teen during sleepovers and attacked her whenever he got the chance.

In October 2021, he was jailed for six years in Worcester Crown Court, but Natasha and Ellie said they were “mentally scarred for life”.

Ellie, now 16, waived her right to anonymity, saying, “Because my dad hadn’t been in my life, I looked at Ricky as a dad. When Ricky assaulted me in his house at night, I was terrified and ashamed.

Natasha Lewis, 40, told how her best friend of 15 Ricky Powis, 42, sexually abused her daughter Ellie, now 16, when she was 13

Natasha Lewis, 40, told how her best friend of 15 Ricky Powis, 42, sexually abused her daughter Ellie, now 16, when she was 13

Powis met Natasha, right, in 2005. When she divorced her husband in 2017, he intervened to care for her children

Powis met Natasha, right, in 2005. When she divorced her husband in 2017, he intervened to care for her children

Natasha, a cleaning lady, says: ‘Ricky was the closest person to me and I will never trust anyone again.

“That sick predator has caused my daughter a lifetime of pain and torment. While he’ll be out in a few years.’

In September 2004, Natasha met Powis, a former store clerk, at the corner store where she worked.

She says: ‘I was living with my now ex-husband and I was pregnant with our first child, Ellie.

The pedophile was sentenced to six years in prison for the abuse in October 2021. He routinely abused Ellie during sleepovers

The pedophile was sentenced to six years in prison for the abuse in October 2021. He routinely abused Ellie during sleepovers

Natasha clicked with Powis right away, but they grew closer when her ten-year marriage ended in 2017 and she considered him 'family'

Natasha clicked with Powis right away, but they grew closer when her ten-year marriage ended in 2017 and she considered him ‘family’

‘Ricky was a client and after a little chat we found out we had a lot of mutual friends. It clicked right away. He was a nice guy.’

After that, Natasha and Powis became good friends. The following year, in 2005, Natasha gave birth to her daughter, Ellie.

Over the years, Natasha and her husband had three more children. But in 2017 their ten-year marriage came to an end.

Natasha says, “When I was raising the kids, life as a busy mom took its toll, so I didn’t have much time to socialize.

“It wasn’t until after the divorce that Ricky became like family to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of my own family to turn to for support.

Ellie, pictured around the time the abuse took place.  She wrote an open letter about the abuse to a friend who called the police

Ellie, pictured around the time the abuse took place. She wrote an open letter about the abuse to a friend who called the police

The teen admitted she didn't know how to tell her mother about the abuse when it happened

The teen admitted she didn’t know how to tell her mother about the abuse when it happened

“So Ricky became my shoulder to cry on and he was my rock. Ellie, who was 12 at the time of the divorce, also no longer had a father in her life. So she loved having Ricky around too.”

From then on, Natasha and Powis saw each other every day. They regularly went out to eat, drink or spend a day out with their children.

Natasha says, “Ricky would always stop by to help around the house and fix Ellie’s wardrobes or help her with homework.

Natasha said she fell into a depression after the ordeal

Ellie, who is now 16, said she and Natasha were 'mentally scarred' by what Ricky did to her

Natasha said she went into depression after the ordeal. Ellie, who is now 16, said she and Natasha were ‘mentally scarred’ by what Ricky did to her

“Ricky had a daughter of her own, so we took all the girls to Drayton Manor or weekend city breaks. The kids loved him.’

The following year, in 2018, Powis started babysitting Natasha’s children when she was working.

The mother of four says, “Ricky always had the girls for sleepovers when I was called out for shifts. Over time, he would just offer up for no reason.

“Since Ellie and his daughter get along well, I was glad she had the company.”

But later that year, Ellie, then 13, started experiencing mood swings and snapping at her mother regularly.

Natasha says, “I just assumed Ellie was a hormonal teen. But the more she withdrew, the more I got the nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.’

Ellie admitted she loved having Ricky around before the abuse started, but began to dread their time together (pictured with Natasha's other kids)

Ellie admitted she loved having Ricky around before the abuse started, but began to dread their time together (pictured with Natasha’s other kids)

In January 2019, Natasha confided in Powis about her concerns about Ellie. She says, “I called him while Ellie was in school and said I thought there was something Ellie didn’t tell me.

“He was really worried. Suddenly another call came in and I realized it was Ellie.

“I told Ricky I’d call him back while Ellie tried to come in.

“I answered Ellie and she told me to go to her school right away. I felt sick.’

In a panic, Natasha jumped into her car and rushed to Ellie’s school. On the way, she put Powis on speaker and told him something had happened to Ellie.

Natasha says, “Ricky was concerned and told me to find out what was going on.

Natasha and Ellie were close, but as the abuse unfolded Ellie withdrew and would laugh at her mother

Natasha and Ellie were close, but as the abuse unfolded Ellie withdrew and would laugh at her mother

Minutes later I arrived and walked towards the reception. Ricky was still on the line, so I held the phone to my ear.

“As I approached the glass doors, I saw Ellie sitting inside, surrounded by four police officers.

“I told Ricky I could see police officers. Suddenly the line went dead. Inside, an officer told Natasha that Ellie had written a letter to a classmate saying she was being sexually assaulted.

Natasha says, “My world collapsed at that moment. I was hysterical. I needed to know who did this to my daughter. Ellie looked at me and said “Ricky”.

“Then I remembered how Ricky hung up as soon as I mentioned the police.

‘I wanted to throw up. I’d never felt so betrayed before.’

Later that night, Powis was arrested at work.

Natasha says: ‘After that I fell into a deep depression. My job in life was to protect my child. I felt so guilty for not seeing any signs.

Ellie said she was glad she reached out to her boyfriend at school and encouraged other people who were going through the same thing to open up about the abuse as well.

Ellie said she was glad she reached out to her boyfriend at school and encouraged other people who were going through the same thing to open up about the abuse as well.

“Meanwhile, Ellie was also struggling mentally and couldn’t concentrate at school.

“When the trial came, I found that Ricky had been hunting Ellie for a year during sleepovers at his house.

“While the other kids were in another room, he’d been making a movie with her.

“Then he would attack her under a blanket. When I heard everything, I wanted to die.’

In October 2021, Ricky Powis, 42, of Three Crosses Road, Ross-on-Wye, was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual activity with a child against Ellie at Worcester Crown Court.

He was jailed for six years. Natasha says, “Now I’m just trying to be the best mom I can be to Ellie and my kids.

“But it still haunts me every day. Ricky deserves to rot in jail.”

Natasha’s daughter, Ellie Lewis, now 16, says, “I’ve always felt safe with Ricky.”

The teen said she didn’t know how to tell her mother about the abuse as it unfolded, saying she and Natasha are now “mentally scarred for life.”

“I’ve been silent for so long, but I’m so glad I contacted my friend at school. If you’ve been through this, please contact someone you trust,” she added.

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