Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey reveals how she was raped at age 12 and kept it secret for 43-years
01:12 GMT, 13 May 2012
Hilary Devey reveals in her new book how she was raped at age 12
Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey was raped when she was just 12-years-old, it has emerged today.
The 55-year-old television star revealed in her autobiography the awful experience that repeatedly took place one night during her childhood.
The multimillionaire told how an older girl that she trusted sickeningly led her into the arms of an Italian man who kept her locked up over night and sexually attacked her.
Hilary kept the tragic secret for 43 years after the fiend threatened to come after her if she told anyone about it.
In her book she writes: 'He kept me there with him all night – the bastard who thought that raping a child was his due at the end of the night.'
She explains how the attack, which took place near her parents' pub in Lancashire, happened again and again throughout the night.
In Bold As Brass, Devey says that she was an outsider as a child and she met the older girl called Sandra at the back of her parents' pub, which she often had to run by herself.
Eager to make a new friend she agreed to sneak out one night with Sandra, but she was led to a room in a house with a random man.
Sandra soon disappeared and the Italian man, who stank of garlic, began to touch her, first playfully but then more aggressively.
Hilary still recalls exactly what he looked like and she remembers his face being full of spots as he ripped at her school clothes.
She screamed and pleaded with him to let her go as the fear she felt made her body freeze still.
The secret: The successful business woman and star of Dragons' Den never told anyone about the ordeal
She writes: 'Too afraid to move or even cry out anymore, all I remember is the pain which filled me that was so violent I wondered if I would die.'
After the attack was over the man threatened Hilary and told her that he would come and get her if she told anyone what happened.
Terrified and ashamed Hilary never told her parents, even though she got told off and hit by her father for having been out all night.
Her father, who thought she had been out with a boy, called her a whore and her mother didn't speak to her for a few days.
The team: Hilary appears on the BBC show with other business tycoons including Duncan Bannatyne and Theo Paphitis
She writes: 'I didn't cry or sob, try to explain or beg to be forgiven. I knew that my world had changed for ever.'
The harrowing ordeal, which she says made her feel dirty and ashamed, shows a very different side to the Dragon, but it also helps explain her determination in business as well as in life.
The award winning entrepreneur says on her website: 'Never one to give up I have successfully overcome every hurdle obstructing my way and am living proof that if you set your mind to do something anyone can achieve amazing results.'