Raped teen’s heartbreaking find
WARNING: Distressing content
A woman who was raped by her stepdad when she was just 13 took heartbreakingly extreme measures to make herself "ugly" in a desperate bid to stop the attacks.
Taylor Barnfield, now 20, gained 50kg in a bid to make Lance Stride leave her alone and stopped washing to scare him away.
The teenager from the UK later discovered he'd abused her eight-year-old sister too but had no idea until after she'd reported her abuser to the police.
In April 2019, Stride, now 45, was found guilty of a string of sex offences against the siblings and was jailed for 21 years with an extra year on licence.
The sisters have waived their right to anonymity and are speaking out to encourage others to come forward.
Stride began dating Taylor's mum in 2010 and Taylor disliked him straight away, but her mum put this down to him not being her "real" dad.
In 2011, the family moved to West Sussex to live with Stride, and he quickly became controlling, not letting Taylor go out with her friends.
The abuse began just a year later when Stride molested her while they were home alone.
Taylor, a cleaner, said: "I shrugged him off and he left the room without saying a word. I wanted to tell Mum but couldn't find the words.
"Just days later in August 2011 and I was home alone with Lance. I popped into Mum's room to grab a phone charger when he cornered me."
It was then he raped her for the first time.
She said: "The pain was horrendous, he snarled at me to keep quiet or else I'd get into trouble.
"Afterwards, I was in shock. My stepdad had taken my virginity.
"But the thought of telling someone never entered my mind, I was terrified that one of my relatives would harm him.
"Instead, I hatched a plan that would make Lance leave me alone."
For the next three months, Taylor refused to shower and stopped brushing her teeth.
But nothing stopped Stride, and over the next four months, he raped Taylor five times while she was at home alone.
As the attacks became more aggressive, bruises formed on Taylor's wrists that she hid with foundation.
Taylor said: "I was getting desperate. I realised that if I made myself ugly, he might stop hurting me.
"At the time, I weighed 38kg and was a size 8 - so I ate junk food to gain extra weight.
"Every day, I scoffed two sugar waffles and a 12-inch meatball sandwich for lunch. I ate everything I could get my hands on.
"By November 2011, I'd had enough.
"Lance pounced on me and I smacked him in the genitals, hard. He looked shocked and quickly left the room.
"But he never touched me again."
Taylor suffered bullying from her classmates over her size.
She fell into a deep depression and hid her body in baggy clothing to disguise her weight gain.
In July 2013, Stride and her mum split so the family moved to Margate, Kent.
Almost three years later in May 2016, when Taylor was 18, she blurted out her secret to her mum.
She says: "Mum hugged me and told me to report him to the police.
"She said there could be other victims, but I thought no one would believe me.
"Eventually, I realised she was right and made a statement to police a week later.
"Officers compiled evidence and, six weeks later, Lance was arrested and charged with raping me."
Then a year later, another victim came forward - Taylor's little sister Mackenzie, now 16.
Taylor says: "Hearing the news was a blow to my stomach. I'd never even imagined that he'd hurt her too."
In April Stride, of Hove, was found guilty of three counts of rape, one count of sexual assault of a girl then aged 13 and one count of sexual assault against an eight-year-old at Lewes Crown Court.
"I couldn't hide my delight. It was overwhelming that a group of strangers had believed me," Taylor said.
Mackenzie said: "Lance terrified me, but I pretended that I liked him.
"I don't remember much of Lance's attack on me. I was just eight years old.
"But it's affected my life. In 2017, I couldn't hide it anymore - I was struggling to sleep and waking up crying every night.
"But I'm glad I spoke out. These monsters can't get away with their crimes."
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence or sexual assault, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). In an emergency, call-0.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission