The devastated mum of young kids abused by a sick predator has told how the man "groomed" her to get close to her children.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said her ex-boyfriend Daniel Cassells posed as a "knight in shining armour" before raping and sexually abusing her children.
Cassells, 37, admitted his vile crimes at the High Court in Glasgow last week. An additional rape charge involving an unrelated child was dropped alongside allegations that he sent indecent phone messages to the youngsters.
The heartbroken mum told how she first uncovered the abuse after hearing one of her children crying in their bedroom before catching Cassells in the act.
Speaking to the Record, the mum said: "He was a master manipulator who groomed me to get access to my kids. He actually knew my children before we met and when I split up with my ex, Daniel was really supportive to the kids and I.
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"If I had to go shopping or get to any appointments, he’d take me to them. He couldn’t do any more to help. He was 'Mr Lovely'. All my relationships prior to him have been quite nasty. So he acted like a knight in shining armour.
"But he was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It makes me sick and I feel like such a fool for believing him." Over the course of their three-and-a-half-year relationship, the mum told how there was a lack of intimacy between the couple.
But she said that Cassells would fob her off with excuses of being "tired" or "having a sore back". Alarm bells began to ring when he changed the door handles on the kids’ bedrooms to ones that could lock, saying that it would give the children more 'privacy'.
The disgusted mum soon discovered the real reason behind Cassell’s overly attentive behaviour towards her kids. She explained: "One day I was lying in bed when I could hear crying and I knew something wasn’t right in my gut.
"I got up and stood in the hallway but I couldn’t hear anything. I knew Daniel was one of my kids' rooms because he’d gone in to talk to them about something.
"So I walked into the room and that’s where I found him sitting at the end of the bed with my child curled up into a ball sobbing their heart out. trousers around his ankles.
"My child had a dressing gown over their face - obviously try and smother the noise. Daniel was trying to talk his way out of it, saying he wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was just so numb and in shock."
The mum told how she immediately kicked Cassell's out the house as he begged her not to tell the police. She soon discovered he had also been abusing her other children.
Despite being relieved with his guilty plea and getting justice for her kids, the mum told how she will forever live with the guilt. She added: "I've sat and read stories like this in papers before and thought 'how did the mother not know?'
"But it’s so easy not to know when you’re in that situation. Now I see what the warning signs were and I’m beating myself up for it, because I put my kids in that situation by starting a relationship with this guy.
"I’m a parent, I’m supposed to protect my children, so of course I’m going to feel that I’m to blame. The important thing now is that he’s in custody and is going to go on the sex offenders register.”
Cassells will be sentenced next month and has been remanded in custody.
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