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Foster son haunted by 'Britain's most sadistic mum' who rubbed kids with sandpaper

Caleb Gilbert, 28, was raised by brutal Eunice Spry, now 76, who forced some of her kids to eat their own faeces, rubbed their faces with sandpaper and beat them with cricket bats and machetes

By Laura Elvin & Lorraine King

17:17, 28 OCT 2020Updated22:33, 28 OCT 2020

The foster son of 'Britain's most sadistic mum' has told how he is still haunted by her as he spoke out about his horrific ordeal for the first time.  Caleb Gilbert, 28, said he imagines seeing brutal Eunice Spry in the street after she was released from jail for carrying out sickening abuse on some of her kids.  The now 76-year-old forced three of her children Victoria, Alloma and Christopher to eat their own excrement, rammed sticks down their throats and rubbed their faces with sandpaper.  The evil mum also locked them up for weeks at a time, made them eat vomit, and attacked them with cricket bats and machetes.  Heroic Victoria eventually managed to escape and raise the alarm and Spry was jailed for 14 years, reduced to 12 on appeal - and released in 2014.  Victoria sadly died last month, and now her foster brother Caleb has spoken to tell his side of the story for the first time.  He has told how he was bizarrely spared all of the most extreme abuse his siblings received between 1986 and 2005.  While he saw beatings which he was convinced were "normal" he only found out about the worst abuse years later, via his big brother's chilling autobiography.  He thinks Eunice, a Jehovah's Witness, spared him, because he was young enough for her to believe she could "mould" him.  Aged 13, when Eunice was arrested, Caleb revealed she chillingly shouted "mummy loves you" at him as she was carried from their filthy home by police. 

He said he thinks Victoria took her own life, at least in part, because of her torture at the hands of twisted Eunice.  Manipulative Eunice kept Caleb out of school, and he wasn't given lessons until he was rescued, aged 13, and he still struggles to read and write.  And he said 15 years on from his escape, he's still left breathless if he sees someone in the street who looks like evil Eunice.  He has revealed Eunice lied to him, and told him she was his birth mother and he only found out the truth when he met his genetic parents after he was rescued.  He was taken into care when he was a baby, and given to Eunice, who had taken in two of his genetic siblings, Alloma and Christopher.  Caleb, who lives in Gloucester said: "I never understood why other kids were allowed to go to school and I wasn't allowed to. But I didn't question it. I thought it was a perfectly normal thing to do.  To be honest, a lot of it was kept away from me.  Most of it would happen if I wasn't around, like if I was playing outside.  I can't really remember any specific really bad things happening in front of me.  I saw some things like them being slapped or beaten on the feet or bum with bamboo sticks.  But growing up very sheltered from anything else, I thought that was normal. I thought everyone went through that, hence why I never mentioned it to anyone.  When I lived in foster care, when I was aged 14 to 17, I used to have a key worker. I wanted my key worker to read my brother's book to me. I didn't start school until year nine.  That's when I found out about them drinking bleach, and sticks going down peoples' throats.  That's the first time I heard about it properly.  I sort of knew that she had done horrible things, but I didn't have any clue about what extent. I didn't see it.  When I found out about the abuse I'm a bit weird at dealing with stuff.  I shut off and I react like it didn't happen. I could explain it as going numb, but not going numb. I'm thinking 'that's horrible' but I can go on talking about something else.  I got the impression it was bad when I was taken off her.  I woke up to a massive commotion and three armed police in my bedroom, so I obviously knew then that something was wrong.  I remember Eunice as she was being carried away saying 'mummy loves you, mummy loves you' to me.  I do get nervous sometimes; not of bumping into her but if there is a loud noise outside, I get really nervous.  If I see a woman with the same colour hair, or looks similar, my heart still jumps a beat, in a bad way.  My mates are like 'oh my god, you look like you've seen a ghost', and I will say 'no, I just thought that was Eunice'."

Caleb was not physically abused like the rest of his siblings.  "I don't know why but I have come up with a little theory on this," he said.

"I reckon it might have been because I was taken away so young so maybe I was more impressionable, so she thought she could mould my mind into what she wanted."

He said he saw her once after he was rescued from their filthy house at a contact centre after she had been arrested but has no desire to see her again.  "The further away from she stays from me the better," he said.

While Caleb escaped the physical tortured doled out by his foster mother, he said being kept out of school until he was freed, left its mark.  "I was brought up almost to be underdeveloped, like an adult child," he said.

"I still don't know how to make a bed or tie my shoelaces. I can't spell or read very well, and my maths is completely useless."

Caleb said he suffers with alcohol dependency issues, for which he is seeking help and working through with professionals.  He said he drank a lot while he "partied hard" in his youth but then realised he was unable to stop drinking daily around two or three years ago.  He added: "I think I would have discovered drinking at some point anyway, but what the family went through must have something to do with it.  Most people don't turn into an alcoholic unless something bad has happened to them."

He said his sister called him to tell him Victoria had taken her own life last month, he said.  He said she had suffered with mental health and alcohol problems in the past, but had battled through them.  "It must have been through what happened to her, growing up with Eunice.  When people said she had been having a hard time of things recently, I thought she'd maybe been drinking, that shed go to rehab, that she'd sort it out.  I didn't think she was the sort of person to commit suicide.  I was quite slow to register. I am with these things. I chatted to my sister for a bit. About a week later, I was listening to music and I just randomly burst out crying.  Sometimes it takes a while to break things down.  I'm not an angry person. But I find it quick shocking how it seems Eunice can still affect people numerous years later.  What she did is still affecting people all of us really and with Victoria it's ended in a tragedy.  For me, it's affected my mental health, with depression, and left me with difficulties in doing normal things.  How I feel about Eunice now is I think she's a very twisted person. She's a very messed up person; a bit like a serial killer but without the murder.  If I was to see her in the street I wouldn't make a scene though.  I believe by being horrible to her, it's making me as low as her. If I was to get upset and angry about her, it's giving her some sort of pleasure.  I was say I blame her for Victoria's death; I would say so. I know there may have been many other parts to it, but I would say what happened to her with Eunice definitely was a large part of it."