Three women are planning to sue notorious social media influencer Andrew Tate for damages over allegations he raped and abused them.
They say they suffered physical injury and psychological harm which has stopped them working or living a normal life for many years.
The women first made complaints to police eight years ago, but say detectives failed to investigate the allegations properly before dropping the case.
One told Sky News: “To have seen Andrew Tate’s rise in popularity and influence, while knowing who he is and what he has done, has been extremely difficult for those of us who were sexually and physically abused by him.
“We intend to prove in court that Andrew is abusive, coercive and controlling and that his public statements about women are nothing more than fantasy.”
The women, aged in their late 20s or early 30s, worked as webcam models for Tate in Luton from 2013 onwards and claim they were abused, poorly paid and threatened to try to stop them going to the police.
Tate denied their accusations and said through his legal team they “wanted money because I fired them.”
The women’s lawyer, Matt Jury, said: “Their allegations include rape, sexual and physical assaults, including holding guns to women’s heads, strangulations including with belts, allegations of the most awful behaviour towards women.”
Hertfordshire police began investigating the women’s allegations in 2015 and arrested Tate three times on suspicion of raping two women and assaulting a third.
The case was abandoned four years later with no further action. The force apologised for delays in the investigation.
Mr Jury said: “When they went to the police their allegations were not treated seriously, the police didn’t take effective action. The evidence was there.
“We’re aware of the evidence that was provided, it should have been sufficient to warrant proper criminal intent investigation and, in our opinion, for charges to be brought.
“If those charges had been brought, and he’d been arrested here in England, then perhaps he wouldn’t have fled to Romania where he is reported to have committed further terrible crimes against women.”
Tate, 36, a British-US citizen with six million Twitter followers, is currently under house arrest in Romania where police are investigating suspected human trafficking, rape and sexual exploitation of women there.
His brother Tristan and two Romanian women face the same allegations and they deny all of them.
The three British women hope to raise funds to start their UK civil damages claim through crowdfunding, but also hope to spur Hertfordshire police into reopening the abandoned investigation.
Another of the alleged victims said: “After first meeting Andrew my life was impacted negatively from the daily mental manipulation and physical abuse that I endured every single day.
“I now suffer with depression, anxiety, stress and have been diagnosed with PTSD.
“This has taken a huge toll on me, it’s affected every single aspect of my life; my work, my mental health and my family.
“Seeing Andrew first blow up on social media was a huge shock to the system. I hadn’t seen him for years since he had left the UK and I never thought I would see him again.”
A spokesman for Andrew Tate said he vehemently denied the UK allegations and criticised the women and their lawyers for alerting them through the media and their use of crowdfunding.
He said: “By choosing to address the press first before any legal action had been taken, the women in this potential case prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are not seeking accountability or justice, but publicity and monetary compensation.
“While we are aware that abuse of any kind is a grave issue with serious long term consequences, we believe it is worth investigating the timing and methods the alleged victims decided to employ, as well as the true motivation of their actions.
“Andrew and his brother have recently been released from jail and they have not been formally charged with any crime. More so, previous attempts to accuse Andrew of similar fabricated crimes have been dismissed by criminal courts in the UK.
“Andrew Tate and his team are determined to clear his name and restore his reputation and will take immediate and decisive legal actions against defamation, slander and perverting the course of justice.”
The Crown Prosecution said it had reviewed carefully all the evidence provided by Hertfordshire police in its investigation in 2019 and found no realistic prospect of conviction.
Hertfordshire Police said: “Officers from the team who dealt with this case are available to meet with the women involved to speak to them about their concerns and the investigation.”
Sky News has sought a direct response to the allegations from Andrew Tate himself but so far has received no reply.