Katy Morgan Davis decided to waive her anonymity and speak to me as a way of claiming her place back in the world.
Hers is a remarkable story of recovery and hope.
Imprisoned for 32 years in a commune run by her father, Katy grew up never going to school, visiting a dentist and only once ever met and briefly spoke to another child.
Hers was a life without laughter, hugs, or family. She was never told that Aravindan Balakrishnan was her father or that another member of the cult, Sian Davies was her mother.
She didn’t belong to anyone.
Her “care” (although “care” seems a totally inappropriate word to describe what she received) was shared by all cult members.
Some terrible things took place in the house she grew up – the house she now calls “dark tower”. It was the place where her mother died from a mysterious fall from an upstairs window. The place her childhood was stolen.
She was always unhappy she told me and mostly terrified of her father’s rages and assaults. Her worst fear was that she would die or be murdered by her father and buried in the garden.
“I thought I would die without leaving “any footprint on this earth, ” she told me. “I was an “un-person”. Now I have a voice.”
She described to me a life full of control and cruelty. She and the others in the cult thought Balakrishnan was God.
“Some of those from the cult still do,” she explained sadly, underlining the psychological courage and determination she has had to use to break the power he held over her, first to escape and then to unlearn a life time of cruelty and indoctrination.
He lectured them daily about Marxism and told them if they left without permission he had the power over them to make them die.
One of the only things she was allowed to do whilst she was growing up was to read some books and, as a result, she has a mature intellect and vocabulary.
But in contrast much about her is childlike because so much of the world remains unknown.
She giggled with delight and surprise for example to discover there was a mirror on the inside of the passenger front seat sunguard in our car. She had never seen one before.
She also laughs a lot. Partly because it was not allowed in the commune and partly because she is now so happy every minute to be free.
“Crossing the road on my own, having my own set of keys, wearing what I want, eating what I want – these are all new and wonderful things” she told me.
Some terrible things took place in the house she now calls “dark tower” but Katy is only looking ahead.
“I was like a caged bird with clipped wings. Now I am learning to fly.”