My mother tried to kill me twice as a child – I thought it was normal

My mother tried to kill me twice as a child and I thought it was normal – but what happened next made me feel ever more worthless

  • Monica Allen has changed the law her herself and thousands of others 
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A woman whose mother twice tried to kill her as a child won the right for herself and hundreds of others to claim compensation after a long legal fight.

Monica Allan, 55, from East Kilbride, was just a small child when her mother Betty Mount forced her head under running bathroom taps and tried to strangle her.

It wasn’t until years later that she discovered her mum had attempted to kill her as a baby, too. In 1976, Mount was charged with attempted murder and jailed.

Monica was moved to foster care for the rest of her childhood but there she suffered severe physical and sexual abuse.

Monica was told she couldn’t claim criminal injuries compensation because of the ‘same roof’ rule. Under the rule, victims of crimes who lived with their attacker were not eligible for payouts.

Monica Allan, aged 5 – this is her only childhood photo. Her mother Betty tried to kill her twice when she was young, once as a baby and again when she was only young.

Monica with her daughter Beth, 29, seen here on birthday night out carried her dark secrets around for 40 years until in 2010 when she finally decided to seek justice.

A clipping from the newspaper around 1976 reporting on Monica’s mother Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Mount who attempted to murder her five year old daughter 

The law was changed in 1979 but that didn’t help Monica because in her case, the crime happened before then.

But Monica refused to be stonewalled and in 2019 she finally took the UK Government to the Supreme Court and won a landmark victory, which means she – and thousands of others – can now claim compensation.

She has now been awarded compensation for her ordeal in foster care and is awaiting a settlement in respect of the abuse by her mother.

Monica’s book, ‘Abandoned’ which tells the story of her battle, will be released this week.

Mum-of-four, Monica, says: ‘For so long, I thought the abuse was normal. As a child, I thought I’d done something wrong and that was why people were being so mean to me.

‘It’s only now, with the court victory, that I feel vindicated. I have a voice at last. The court decision means that hundreds, even thousands, of others can now come forward and claim. It’s about more than money, it’s about being believed.’

Monica’s mother, Betty, was an alcoholic who had a turbulent relationship with Monica’s dad, Jimmy. When Monica was five, the family went to visit friends for the evening. Whilst they were there, Betty tried to strangle her daughter under the bath taps.

Monica says: ‘My mother took me to the bathroom to use the loo but instead she closed the door, switched on the bath taps, and dragged my head underneath the water. She was squeezing my neck and I was gasping for breath and choking on the water, I thought I was dying.’

Monica was put into foster care, taking with her nothing more than a baby’s bottle. And here, her ordeal simply grew worse.

Her new parents ran a brutal regime. To the outside world, the family was devoutly religious and respectable, but behind closed doors, Monica was physically and sexually abused.

Monica in 2015, five years after she began to fight to change the law. The mum-of-four took her case to the Supreme Court and was recently awarded compensation from CICA for the abuse she suffered in foster care

Ms Allen has fought for years to change the law that previously stated victims who shared a roof with their abusers were not eligible for compensation. Seen here just after she won her case

Monica says: ‘They were cruel to me. I wore second hand clothes and I had nothing of my own. My foster father doled out vicious beatings if I didn’t finish my meals.

‘I really missed my mother and my grandmother and I used to beg to be allowed to go home.’

Monica was sexually abused by her foster sibling but kept quiet, fearing nobody would take her side.

She says: ‘By now, I had lost all sense of myself. I thought I didn’t matter. I struggled with the idea that neither my real family or my foster family liked or loved me.’

Alone in the world, Monica moved into her own home aged 17 and went on to have four children. Monica dearly loved her children but battled constantly with demons from her past.

She carried her dark secrets around for 40 years until in 2010, haunted by her trauma, she finally decided to seek justice.

She says: ‘I tried to piece things together from my past and it was only when I got my social services records that I discovered my mother had tried to kill me twice. I’d had no idea about the attack as a baby, all those years.’

She was told she could not seek compensation because of the ‘same roof’ rule, meaning victims who lived with their attackers up to 1979 were ineligible for pay-outs.

For the past 12 years Monica has been fighting her case through the Supreme Court and was recently awarded compensation from CICA in respect of the sexual abuse she suffered in foster care. She is awaiting a second settlement for the attacks by her mother.

Glasgow-based law firm Legal Services Agency helped Monica fight her case.

They argued that it was unlawful on human rights grounds for her to be barred from claiming compensation.

Solicitor Kirsti Nelson said: ‘The courts have recognised that it is discriminatory to prevent people from claiming compensation because of the same roof rule.

‘The Government still needs to amend the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme to allow other victims to claim, but in the meantime, Monica is going to be able to progress her claim.’

Kirsti and Monica think this turning point in the law could make a big difference for other victims of crime.

Monica added: ‘People won’t have to go through the emotional trauma of being knocked back under the same roof rule.

‘I felt the rule was wrong. I found it quite offensive. My right was taken away and I found that distressing and upsetting.

‘I am over the moon to be part of the Government making that decision.’

Monica’s book, Abandoned, will be released later this week.

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