Dragons’ Den star Hilary Devey has revealed she was raped in Accrington when she was 12.

Mrs Devey, 55, said she was sexually abused near her parents’ pub – but kept the attack secret for 43 years.

She has spoken of the ordeal for the first time in her autobiography, which is being serialised in The Sun.

She recounts how an older girl led her to a man who attacked her and threatened to come after her if she told her parents.

In her book Bold as Brass, Mrs Devey wrote: “He kept me there with him all night – the b****** who thought that raping a child was his due at the end of the night. He did it again and again.”

Mrs Devey reveals she was left alone in a room with the man after sneaking out to get ice cream with the older girl. He started touching her while they sat on a bed.

Mrs Devey wrote: “He just wouldn’t stop and however much I kept trying to push him away, he didn’t take any notice.

“Spots covered his face and he stank of something that I would later learn was garlic.

“I felt fear rise inside me when he started pulling at the school shirt I’d left on after changing my skirt for jeans. ‘Please don’t,’ I cried.”

Mrs Devey said the older girl never returned to the room as the man began attacking her.

She describes how she was ‘too afraid to move or even cry out’ and feared that she would die during the ordeal.

Mrs Devey revealed she did not speak to her parents about the attack and said her father shouted at her for staying out all night.

She added: “I didn’t cry or sob, try to explain or beg to be forgiven. I knew that my world had changed for ever.”

Mrs Devey built up a multi-million pound empire after launching her firm Pall-Ex in 1996, selling her car and home to fund it.

She spent most of her childhood in Bolton, before moving to London where she started her own business.