This story begins and ends with a photograph taken when I was two years old. Finding it was like discovering that I really did exist after all . It was as if someone was saying ‘No, it wasn’t all in your imagination, that childhood really did happen, and it happened to you.’
Brought up in South London by violent and abusive parents, the Roche children knew only cruelty, neglect, starvation and squalor. As one of ten and regularly beaten, Peter searched dustbins for food and slept rough when he couldn't face going home. It was survival at all costs, every child for itself.
Expelled from school at the age of 14, Peter’s life of petty crime landed him in
borstal – and exposed him to yet more sickening abuse.
Then, years later, a chance meeting with a social worker led to his discovery of a photograph - a portrait, taken by Lord Snowdon, of a toddler dressed in rags. It was an image that had shocked the world. The boy in the picture was Peter.
Unloved is a harrowing account of a shattered childhood, told by a man who has finally found the courage to speak out.
This is his story.