Rosie Nelson thought she’d struck gold when she met romantic, animal-loving businessman Peter Loram.
They shared a passion for the outdoors and after he wooed her with weekends away and date nights, they moved in together.
As they made plans to buy a house, loved-up Rosie felt sure they would be together forever.
But Peter, 39, was a Jekyll and Hyde character harbouring an unspeakably dark secret. And mum-of-one Rosie, 48, would only discover it by chance.
Days after their fourth anniversary in May 2020, she found a mysterious SD card in Peter’s home office when she was looking for a bank card reader.
Her curiosity piqued, she took a look – and found it contained extreme child abuse. What she saw left her deeply traumatised and she remains haunted by the image.
Recalling that “nightmare” day, Rosie tells the Sunday Mirror: “I knew at that moment that my life would never be the same again.
“It blew my entire world apart. It was the most horrendous thing I have ever seen. I just sat staring at the screen thinking: ‘No way. What the hell have I just seen?’
“I convinced myself it was a joke, that it must lead on to something else.’”
Having pulled the SD card out of her lover’s laptop in shock, she tentatively put it back in to check she wasn’t mistaken.
A graphic moving image confirmed her worst fear – that the man she had been devoted to was a paedophile. She now brands him “a monster”.
The card contained hundreds of videos and images. One sick title plugged sex involving a boy aged just five and his mother.
Rosie goes on: “I was violently shaking in a way I have never experienced and I knew I had to do something, but I couldn’t function, I was in complete shock.
“I couldn’t even tell you what I was thinking because my mind was racing, thoughts flooding my mind. I was drowning.”
After calling a friend, a distressed Rosie rang the police and went into “full panic-mode”, frantically locking all the doors as she realised company director Peter was due home from work.
She also had to ask her 15-yearold son, who lived with them, a gut wrenching question.
A tearful Rosie says: “It’s the worst thing in the world, to have to ask your son if he had been abused by your boyfriend.”
To her intense relief, her son – who she does not want to name – reassured her that nothing had ever happened.
“In retrospect, I was massively relieved that Peter and my son had never had a close relationship,” she says.
“That used to upset me, but now I am hugely grateful.”
She and her son fled the house in Bridford, Devon, and hid around the corner to avoid seeing Peter.
Rosie explains: “I heard him knock on the front door and ring the doorbell. He tried ringing me and left me a voicemail. I have never listened to that voicemail – I have never known what it says, and I don’t want to know.”
Police arrived soon after and found Peter’s repulsive hoard of 240 movies and 204 pictures downloaded from the dark web.
The images were of children aged between two and 15 and most were in Category A – which depicts the most graphic and sickening abuse of children by adults.
In July this year, Peter appeared at Exeter Crown Court and admitted three counts of making indecent images of children – by downloading.
He was given a nine-month jail term suspended for two years, was put on the sex offenders register and ordered to take a treatment course during 30 days of rehabilitation activities.
Judge David Evans also made him subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years, which allows police to monitor his online activity.
But Rosie says the “paltry sentence” did little to ease her trauma after viewing the SD card and finding out her boyfriend was addicted to such vile content.
Rosie – who was single for 18 months before meeting Peter via dating app Plenty of Fish – goes on: “I developed a stammer and PTSD.
“I couldn’t speak about it without stuttering and getting emotional. I couldn’t focus and couldn’t stop crying. I have had a lot of therapy to talk about this without breaking down and stammering.
“For a long time I couldn’t get the image I had seen out of my head.
“It was everywhere I looked, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t even stare at the wall.
“I hated myself. I would wake up and look at myself in the mirror and think: ‘You are repulsive. You are a disgusting character to have been with someone like that.’ I wanted to take my own skin off and bleach it and scrub it because I felt so dirty.”
One of the most difficult challenges was friends and strangers asking her how she couldn’t have known about her boyfriend’s sickening desires.
“Suddenly every little thing he had ever said or done, every little quirk, was popping up in my head and I was thinking: ‘Should that have told me?’
“At the beginning, and for a long time, it was perfect. He used to take me away on weekend trips to the Lake District and for lovely meals.
“He was the perfect gentleman – romantic, loving, kind, generous and thoughtful.
“There is nothing on this planet that could have led me to believe that he had that problem.”
But she did say he had persuaded her to give up a job as a childminder to help with his company.
In hindsight, that may have been a red flag and she adds. “Ironically, he used to tell me he had no interest in children and that’s why he was never close with my son.
“I sometimes wonder if he was deliberately distancing himself from children, but that’s speculation.”
Now Rosie is on a mission to help other people who have discovered their loved ones are child sex offenders, creating a community where they can openly discuss their experiences without judgment.
“Unless we start talking about this, we can’t open up people’s eyes to how huge the problem is,” she says.
“Hopefully I can create something good out of something awful.
“We have to talk about this. I know people don’t want to, but things will only get even worse if we don’t.”
The counselling she had inspired her to become a hypnotherapist and she has even been able to start dating again.
Rosie, who has relocated to another part of Devon, adds: “If I hadn’t had the therapy, I don’t think I would be able to trust men again. I met a very nice man last year and we have taken it very, very slowly.
“The only way I could have had a future was by getting the help I did.”
Incredibly, the therapy gave her the strength to see Peter, who has changed his surname to Lowe, one last time.
In March, before he was sentenced, he texted Rosie to say their dog Bentley – a retriever – had died and they arranged to scatter his ashes together.
She says: “I couldn’t bear not to say goodbye to Bentley. But there is no way I could have done it without Peter there, as he had taken the dog. So that was extremely devastating.
“It was totally bizarre. He looked totally different. I just thought: ‘How could I have been with him?’
“He did a lot of talking, a lot of apologising. But it was all empty.
“There was a lot I could have said, but I kept very quiet.
“I never want to see that man again. I have nothing to say to him.
“Nothing can ever undo what he did to those children by watching those child abuse videos. He’s a monster.”
■Learn more about Rosie’s project at facebook.com/SurviveAndThriveCIC/