Former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan has revealed she left the show when she was raped by a porter in the hotel room where she was staying after partying with Rylan Clark during production of the show in 2012.
Scouted for the competition at just 20, Spraggan has now told how she felt ‘let down’ by ITV as she explained why she was forced to leave the show abruptly in a new memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through.
Having previously been a gigging artist, the X Factor was the singer’s big break and she became the first contestant to sing her own song Last Night in her audition, which became the world’s fourth-most watched video that year.
But having made it through three live shows, the brutal attack left her unable to continue the show due to strong side effects of Pep medication – a drug given to her by doctors which can prevent someone contracting HIV.
The assault is said to have happened after fellow contestant Rylan Clark’s 25th birthday party, where staff and singers were given ‘free alcohol’ – ultimately leading to Spraggan, now 31, falling unconscious.
Lucy Spraggan, now 31, has told how she was raped by a hotel porter during the X Factor 2012
Rylan Clark (left) made sure Spraggan’s hotel door locked as he left, meaning her attacker was traced by the keycard he used to enter
Spraggan was scouted for the show at 20 and made it through the first three live shows before quitting abruptly
She told the Guardian how a member of the production team escorted the singer back to the hotel from the Mayfair Mahiki nightclub where a hotel porter offered to help return Spraggan safely to her room.
But as the staff member left her room, the porter is said to have manually prevented the room from locking automatically.
She and Clark had allegedly been sent to the hotel on Edgware Road, away from the Corinthia where the show usually housed its performers, with 24-hour security.
Spraggan described how she believed this was part of their ‘storyline’ for the show, in which they were known for partying and staying out late.
Some time later, Clark arrived back at the hotel and checked in on his fellow contestant – crucially then ensuring her door was locked before he left her asleep.
This meant that the porter then had to use a traceable keycard in order to get into the room and commit the rape, she explained.
The next day, Spraggan woke up and instantly knew something was wrong.
She told the Guardian: ‘I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confusion since. I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.’
After telling Clark, who she describes as a fierce advocate for her, production staff were informed and police were called.
She was prescribed Pep which, if taken within the first 72 hours of having sex, can stop the spread of HIV – but it left her feeling too ill to continue singing in the show.
Rylan and Lucy pictured leaving filming studios during their 2012 stint on the X Factor
Spraggan described how she woke up and felt an ‘immediate sense of dread’
Simon Cowell said he is still in touch with Spraggan, who he described as ‘one of the most authentic, talented and brave people I have ever met’
Now she is frustrated at the lack of aftercare she received upon leaving the competition, as although she reportedly received medical and financial support in the immediate aftermath, she says she had no support after trial
Spraggan said she had wanted to come clean about why she suddenly quit the X Factor, but claims people associated with the show encouraged her not to.
Now she is frustrated at the lack of aftercare she received upon leaving the competition, as although she reportedly received medical and financial support in the immediate aftermath, she says she had no support after trial.
She writes: ‘No one ever contacted me to ask if I was OK. No one called or emailed when the trial was over and he was convicted. No one offered me rehabilitation or ongoing mental health treatment. I was on my own.’
The man behind the attack pleaded guilty at trial and was sentenced to ten years in prison, meaning the singer did not have to relive the trauma of the rape in the witness box.
Simon Cowell boss of The X Factor, told the Guardian that what happened to Spraggan was ‘horrific and heartbreaking’.
He continued: ‘Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented and brave people I have ever met.
‘I have always supported her wish to tell her story as well as her efforts to bring about positive change.’
A spokesperson for ITV said: ‘We have the deepest compassion for Lucy and everything she has endured as a result of this horrific ordeal. We commend her resilience and bravery.
‘The X Factor was produced by Thames and Syco, who were primarily responsible for duty of care towards all of its programme contributors.
‘ITV as a commissioning broadcaster is committed to having in place suitable and robust oversight procedures, with a view to ensuring that independent producers employ the correct processes to protect the mental health and welfare of participants.
‘We continue to evolve our own duty of care processes on programmes we produce to ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to support contributors before, during and after filming. In an event of such a distressing nature, welfare and support towards the victim would always be of the utmost priority.’
A spokesperson for the production company behind the show, Fremantle, added: ‘While we believed throughout that we were doing our best to support Lucy in the aftermath of the ordeal, as Lucy thinks we could have done more, we must therefore recognise this. For everything Lucy has suffered, we are extremely sorry.
‘Since then, we have done our very best to learn lessons from these events and improve our aftercare processes.’
Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse is available from Rape Crisis on 0808 500 2222.