A GRANDMOTHER who was drugged and sexually abused in a children’s home has welcomed a church report on the scandal – but is still waiting for a formal apology.

Teresa Cooper, who now lives in Ongar, says the harrowing report about the Church of England-run Kendall House won’t ever erase the scars she will carry around for the rest of her life.

Now 49, she was just 14 when she was sent to the home, where she was locked in isolation and physically, emotionally and sexually abused in the institution that “normalised” cruelty.

Below, Teresa Cooper aged 14 while in Kendall House. She says the effects of the drugs made her look like an 'old woman'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

After spending the best part of 30 years tirelessly fighting for justice, she is single-handedly responsible for bringing what happened to light and the release of the report.

She told the Guardian Series: “I felt quite sad – that’s my life there in writing. I did feel pride though, because the first few paragraphs thanked me.

“But it shouldn’t have taken me 30 years to get justice, not just for me but for the other girls.

“People only see me as the adult fighting, but what they aren’t seeing is the child who was severely abused.

“I’m glad someone’s realised how hard I work, I don’t get a break from it all.”

The second report, which follows on from a review published in June, paints a graphic graphic picture of life inside Kendall House as a “frightening, violent and unpredictable place to live”.

During her four-year stay during the early 1980s, Teresa was locked in a room for 163 days and given a cocktail of drugs including Valium, Haloperidol and other anti-psychotics more than 1,200 times.

She was abused while under the effect of the drugs and she believes the chemicals are responsible for a range of health problems suffered by her and her children.

But the 137-page document, released in November but only published last week, highlights the extent of the abuse during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

When first arriving, girls were pulled by their hair and stripped off naked before being thrown into a dirty bath.

One girl says a matron at the home, open between 1947 and 1986, dunked her under the water repeatedly saying “nits, crabs, you dirty bitch”.

Girls were so heavily medicated they could often be found in the common room “like zombies”, sat slumped over chairs, foaming and dribbling at the mouth. One girl recalled: “I thought they were dead, it frightened the life out of me.”

Girls who resisted drugging at the home were punished, locked in isolation for “days on end” and forced into straitjackets.

Some were forced to wear nightdresses for weeks at a time for minor infringements of rules.

When Teresa tried to tell the police, the church and social services she was ignored, but her determination to expose what happened never wavered.

“I wanted to escape, I was petrified of being there. Even some of the other girls were abusive, they tried to kill me twice.

“From the moment it happened I complained and ran away, but nobody would listen.”

Below: Teresa Cooper after leaving Kendall house. She was forced to go cold turkey from the cocktail of drugs she was force-fed with

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Six years ago, the church agreed an out-of-court settlement but did not accept liability for the abuse.

The current Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, in whose diocese the home was, apologised to the women for their treatment under the care of the authoritarian superintendent called Doris Law, who has since died.

But Teresa added: “A settlement doesn’t make up for what happened. The amount of money it’s cost me to do this doesn’t even cover it. And not just for me – but for the other women too.”

Three decades later, she says her crusade will only be over when she receives a formal apology from those who failed to protect her and the others.

She is no longer able to have therapy on the NHS due to funding cuts but is determined to find ways to survive.

Teresa added: “I’ve been treated absolutely appallingly by those who should be helping me.

“Emotionally, it’s an ongoing battle. It’s ripped my family apart – I’ll be spending Christmas Day alone.

“I’ve been struggling to cope with it. I will never lay it to rest. I was a guinea pig, a lab rat. I’ll always feel like I’m there, locked in that small room in Kendall House.”

Kent Police said it “welcomes” the contents of the inquiry.

To find out more or for help, visit Teresa’s website by clicking here or head to http://www.no2abuse.com/