15-year-old reveals has been sexually abused by her mum's best-friend

15-year-old reveals has been sexually abused by her mum's best-friend


Single mother recalls horrifying moment she discovered her best friend of 15 years was abusing her daughter, 13 – after becoming like a father to her children when her marriage broke down

  • Natasha Lewis, 40, revealed her daughter Ellie, 16, sexually abused by friend 
  • Ricky Powis, 12, was like, ‘family’, but began sexual abuse when Ellie was just 13 
  • Powis was jailed for six years for the abuse in October 2021 after arrest in 2020 

A mum-of-four has recalled the horrifying moment she discovered her best friend was sexually abusing her teenage daughter – who looked on him as a father figure. 

Natasha Lewis, 40, had been friends with Ricky Powis, 42, for 15 years and he was considered part of the family. 

But unbeknown to Natasha, Powis began a campaign of abuse against her daughter, Ellie Lewis, now 16, when she was just 13-years-old. 

For a year, Powis, who had a daughter of Ellie’s age, preyed on the vulnerable teen during sleepovers, assaulting her whenever he got the chance. 

In October 2021, he was jailed at Worcester Crown Court for six years, but Natasha and Ellie sayd they have been left ‘mentally scarred for life.’ 

Waiving her right to anonymity, Ellie, now 16, said: ‘As my dad hadn’t been in my life, I looked at Ricky like a father. When Ricky abused me at his house in the night, I was terrified and ashamed. 

Natasha Lewis, 40, recounted how her best-friend of 15 years Ricky Powis, 42, sexually abused her daughter Ellie, now 16, right, when she was 13 

Powis met Natasha, right, in 2005. When she divorced her husband in 2017, he stepped in to look after her kids 

Natasha, a cleaner, says: ‘Ricky was the closest person to me and I’ll never trust someone again. 

‘That sick predator has given my daughter a lifetime of pain and torment. While he’ll be out in just a few years.’

In September 2004, Natasha met Powis, a former retail assistant, at the corner store where she worked. 

She says: ‘At the time I was living with my now ex-husband and I was pregnant with our first child, Ellie. 

The pedophile was sentenced to six years in jail for the abuse in October 2021. He routinely sexually abused Ellie at sleepovers 

Natasha hit it off straight away with Powis, but they became closer when her marriage of ten years came to an end in 2017 and she considered him ‘family’ 

‘Ricky was a customer and after chatting, we realised we had loads of mutual friends. We hit it off straight away. He was a lovely guy.’

After that, Natasha and Powis became great friends. The next year, in 2005, Natasha gave birth to her daughter, Ellie. 

Over the years, Natasha and her husband went on to have another three children.  But in 2017, their marriage of ten years came to an end. 

Natasha says: ‘When I was bringing up the kids, life as a busy mum took its toll so I didn’t have much time for socialising. 

‘It wasn’t until the divorce when Ricky became like family to me. Sadly, I didn’t have much of my own family to go to for support. 

Ellie, pictured around the time the abuse took place. She wrote a letter opening up about the abuse to a friend who called the police 

The teen admitted she didn’t know how to tell her mother about the abuse at the time it was happening 

‘So Ricky became my shoulder to cry on and he was my rock. Ellie, who was 12 at the time of the divorce, didn’t have a father in her life anymore either. So she loved having Ricky around too.’

From then on, Natasha and Powis saw each other every day. They regularly went for meals, drinks or days out with their kids.

Natasha says: ‘Ricky always popped over to help around the house and would fix Ellie’s wardrobes or help her with homework. 

Natasha said she fell into depression after the ordeal. Ellie, who is now 16, said she and Natasha are ‘mentally scarred’ by what Ricky did to her 

‘Ricky had a daughter himself so we’d take all the girls to Drayton Manor or for city breaks on the weekends. The kids adored him.’

The next year, in 2018, Powis began babysitting Natasha’s children whenever she had work. 

The mother-of-four says: ‘Ricky always had the girls over for sleepovers whenever I got called in for shifts. In time, he’d just offer for no reason at all. 

‘Since Ellie and his daughter got on well, I was glad she had the company.’

But later that year, Ellie, then 13, began having mood swings and would regularly snap at her mum. 

Natasha says: ‘I just assumed Ellie was being a hormonal teenager. But as she became more withdrawn, I had a nagging feeling something wasn’t right.’ 

Ellie admitted she loved having Ricky around before the abuse started, but grew to dread their time together (pictured with Natasha’s other children) 

In January 2019, Natasha confided in Powis about her worries for Ellie. She says: ‘I called him while Ellie was at school and said how I thought there was something Ellie wasn’t telling me. 

‘He was really concerned. Suddenly, another call came in and I realised it was Ellie.

‘I told Ricky I’d call him right back as Ellie was trying to get through. 

‘I answered Ellie and she told me I needed to get to her school straight away. I felt sick.’

Panicking, Natasha jumped in her car and sped to Ellie’s school. On the way, she put Powis on loudspeaker and told him something had happened with Ellie. 

Natasha says: ‘Ricky was worried sick and told me to find out what was wrong. 

Natasha and Ellie were close, but as the abuse unfolded, Ellie became withdrawn and would snap at her mother 

‘Minutes later, I arrived and headed towards the reception. Ricky was still on the line so I held the phone to my ear. 

‘As I approached the glass doors, I saw Ellie sat inside, surrounded by four police officers. 

‘I told Ricky I could see police officers. Suddenly, the line went dead. Inside, an officer informed Natasha that Ellie had written a letter to a classmate saying how she was being sexually abused. 

Natasha says: ‘My world collapsed in that moment. I was hysterical. I needed to know who had done this to my daughter.  Ellie looked at me and said “Ricky”. 

‘I then remembered how Ricky had hung up as soon as I mentioned the police. 

‘I wanted to throw up. I’d never felt so betrayed.’

Later that night, Powis was arrested at his work. 

Natasha says: ‘After that, I fell into a deep depression. My job in life was to protect my child. I felt so guilty for not seeing any signs. 

Ellie said she was glad she reached out to her friend at school and encouraged other people going through the same thing to open up about the abuse as well 

‘Meanwhile, Ellie struggled mentally too and couldn’t concentrate at school. 

‘When the trial came around, I discovered Ricky had preyed on Ellie for a year during sleepovers at his house. 

‘While the other kids were in a different room, he’d put on a film with her. 

‘Then he’d assault her underneath a blanket. Hearing everything made me want to die.’

In October 2021, Ricky Powis, 42, of Three Crosses Road, Ross-on-Wye, was found guilty of four counts of sexual assault by penetration and three counts of sexual activity with a child against Ellie at Worcester Crown Court. 

He was jailed for six years. Natasha says: ‘Now, I’m just trying to be the best mum I can to Ellie and my kids. 

‘But it still haunts me every day. Ricky deserves to rot in jail.’

Natasha’s daughter, Ellie Lewis, now 16, says: ‘I always felt safe with Ricky.’ 

The teenager said she didn’t know how to tell her mother about the abuse when it was unfolding, and said Natasha and her are now ‘mentally scarred for life.’  

‘I stayed silent for so long but I’m so glad I reached out to my friend at school. If you have been through this, please reach out to someone you trust,’ she added. 

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