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Disabled woman reveals her dad sexually abused her on Valentine’s Day aged 10 and she was powerless to stop him

A DISABLED woman has revealed how her dad sexually abused her on Valentine's Day – and her condition meant she was unable to defend herself.

Hayley Samani, 27, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, was just 10 years old when she began suffering from myotonic dystrophy, which causes her joints to randomly lock.

On Valentine's Day 2007, Hayley's dad, Matthew Brian Gilbert, 50, abused her.

Terrifyingly, she was unable to move or fight him off, as her muscles in her arms and legs stiffened.

In June 2008, Gilbert was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter and jailed for just one year and two months.

Now, Hayley is speaking out for the first time and bravely waiving her anonymity to reveal her father's sordid abuse.

Hayley says: “My dad took advantage of my disability and that's what hurts me the most.

“If I didn't report him when I did, I think he would have gone on to rape me.”

Growing up, Hayley loved going to the park with her dad and he would call her his 'daddy's girl.'


In September 1999, after Hayley turned six, Gilbert asked her to give him a back massage.

Hayley says: “I always jumped in excitement and loved pretending I was a masseuse.

“But as I got older, I hated seeing Dad without his top on.

“Every morning Dad would wait for me in his bedroom with his top off, then he'd make me rub his back.”

Two years later, in March 2003, then aged 10, Hayley's joints began to stiffen up.

Some mornings when she tried to get out of bed, she'd collapse to the floor.

My dad took advantage of my disability and that's what hurts me the most.

Sex abuse victim Hayley Samani

Hayley said: “One day I couldn't move my arms at all, I was terrified.

“Mum took me to the doctors where they did tests, but they had no idea what was wrong with me.

“Thankfully because of my condition, Dad stopped asking me for massages.”

Three years later, when Hayley was 13, she went to a family BBQ with her parents.

Hayley says: “On the way back home, Dad made a comment about one of my mum’s friend, saying how pretty she was.

“The next day, Dad came up to me and said I looked like mum’s pretty friend from the day before.

“I felt really weird and ignored him.”

Later that night, Hayley woke up to her dad staring at her from the end of her bed.

Hayley says: “Dad said he wanted to check my muscles weren't playing up."


During the next two years, Gilbert continued to sneak into Hayley's bedroom every night.

Then on Valentine's Day 2007, the family were on a flight home from a trip to Slovakia.

Hayley says: “On the plane Dad sat next to me instead of Mum.

“When we arrived back home, Mum stormed off to her bedroom and I went to bed.

“Hours later I woke up to Dad's hands in my pants, fondling me.

“I quickly tried to push him off me but my arm stiffened. I wanted to scream for Mum but I froze."

She added: “After what felt like an eternity, Dad finally stopped.

“Then he said, 'Your mum has given me no attention and it's Valentine's Day.'

“After he left the room I still couldn't move, I felt so helpless.”


Eventually, Hayley mustered the strength to get out of bed and walk two miles to her aunt's house where the police were called.

Gilbert was arrested back at home later that night.

In June 2008, Matthew Brian Gilbert, 50, of Oulton Road, Lowestoft, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child under 16 at Ipswich Crown Court.

He was jailed for one year and two months.


Hayley says: “Mum and I were happy, he deserved to be in jail.

“He took advantage of me when I was at my weakest.

“Growing up it made me feel sick having Dad's name so when I turned 21, I legally changed it.”

In June 2016, Hayley was finally diagnosed with type 1 myotonic dystrophy, a long-term genetic disorder that affects muscle function.

Hayley says: “Now I'm disabled and unable to work, but my fiancé looks after me.

“I'll never forgive my dad for what he did.

“At least I have my mother who always believed in me.”

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