Brave Shannon Clifton today tells for the first time about eight years of sexual assault and beatings at the hands of her pedophile father.
She is 18 years old and gives up her identity to reveal that the monster raped her for the first time on the living room floor at the age of six.
The beginning of an ordeal that tore her young life to pieces was when Shane Ray Clifton attacked her again and again, up to four times a day.
When he finds out that Shannon was waiting at the age of 11, the pervert hit her unconscious and she lost the baby.
After she became pregnant again at the age of 13, Clifton used Google searches to miscarry her, forcing her to engage in dangerous exercise.
When she was nine months pregnant, a suspicious school nurse asked her to take a pregnancy test.
Terrified Shannon refused, but her father feared that his sick crimes would be exposed and forced her to join him on the run, resulting in a police chase for six days.
Two days after finding them, Shannon gave birth to a baby who was both her son and her brother.
Clifton, 36, was sentenced to at least 15 life in prison for rape in Derby Crown Court
Neither his name nor his daughter were released – but the case made headlines as Shannon, who was brainwashed, shouted in court: “I love you, Dad, I miss you.”
Three years later, after escaping from Hell at Clifton’s hands, her feelings get more complicated. Now she is speaking out to persuade other abused children to seek help.
“He stole my life,” she says. “He turned it into a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from – he raped and beat me for years. I was scared and in pain every day.
“I hate my dad now, but I will always miss him because he was the only person I had all my childhood.”
Until Shannon was five, her family life was fairly normal – “birthday parties with a rubber castle, fun trips” with her siblings.
This all changed after her parents separated and she went to live with her father.
The court heard how cunning Penman Clifton had “poisoned” her against her mother.
“I’ve always been my father’s favorite, his little princess,” says Shannon.
“If my mom ever shouted at me, he would tell her, ‘Don’t talk to Shannon like this.’ He was very protective. We were inseparable.”
So she went to live with him alone at the age of five. “He changed so quickly,” she says.
“He was screaming if I did something he didn’t like, it was a slap on the head. Then he started punching me. Over the years, he burned me with an iron, attacked me with a hammer, stabbed me and slit my head.”
Clifton turned her against the rest of the family until she stopped seeing them.
And then, when she was six years old and isolated from anyone who might help her, her worst torment began.
“He woke me up at night and forced me to lie on the floor in my pajamas,” she says. “Then he lay on me and did it. I felt the worst pain imaginable. I was screaming for him to stop, but he didn’t.
“Then I lay bleeding. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe.”
The rapes became regular – and the little girl courageously resisted, to no avail.
“He always said sorry after that,” says Shannon. “When it is over, I have been playing with my toys to distract myself.
“He said it was something all fathers do for their daughters, but I had to keep it a secret. He hugged me and promised that it wouldn’t happen again. But it always was. And yet I still loved him. It was all I had.”
The attacks accelerated, up to four times a day. “He was going to make me have sex with him in the woods,” says Shannon.
“He filmed it and made me watch it once. I was crying – it was just so horrible.”
At 11, Shannon got pregnant. Confused and scared, I hid it as best she could until I pulled it out for him at 28 weeks.
“I was hit hard and got out. I don’t remember that clearly,” Shannon says. “But I remember one minute I had a baby inside of me and the next day there was blood everywhere and the baby was gone.”
When she got pregnant again at the age of 13, Clifton tried again to miscarry Shannon – even looking for ways online. When it doesn’t work, Shannon claims to have come up with a plan to kill her baby after birth.
“This was the ugliest thing he did or said,” she said, wiping her tears. “It went into the details – I can’t talk about it.”
With her growing stomach difficult to conceal, Shannon was called by the school nurse and required to take a pregnancy test. She refused and ran away. That night, the police stormed their apartment.
“As soon as he saw them, my father told me to climb the fence in the back and run across the fields. He followed him.”
They spent six nights sleeping in harsh conditions as she called on the police to watch. Shannon recalls: “It was October. I was freezing, tired and scared. We were on the go the whole time. I was in pain, but I kept telling myself, “You can’t go into labor yet, you must be found first.”
When Clifton broke the cover to take Shannon to Derby, the police surrounded him.
“We tried to escape, but a police car drove in the street and my father was arrested,” Shannon says. For the first time in years, she delivered her baby in hospital two days later.
“I loved him right away. I thought, ‘It’s my life now.’ But he was my brother. He was so baffled,” she says.
She kept the baby girl until a week before his first birthday when Shannon bravely decided, alone and in foster care, to give him up for adoption. I couldn’t give him everything he needed, ”she says.“ I wanted him to grow up with a nice family, a family that I had never had before. I will always be his mother. “
After a DNA test confirmed that Clifton was the boy’s father, he confessed to rape – but said his crimes began when Shannon was 10.
Surprisingly, she never fully retracted her courtroom vow of love. “I am getting better, but there will always be some kind of love for my father,” she says.
Her biggest fear, though, is that one day he will kill her. “I worry about that,” she says. He’s got a life restraining order, but does that matter? He has nothing to lose. “
Meanwhile, her ordeal left her afflicted with PTSD in the form of frightening flashbacks. She attempted suicide at the age of 16 – but with the help of a good foster family, Shannon is finally starting to rebuild her life.
Now she rents her own apartment and is starting her studies in criminal psychology, which she hopes will help her understand some of her father’s motives.
“I will never know why my father did what he did, but my goal is to help other victims of abuse who have read this – so they can find the help they need,” she says.