Long Lost Family: What Happened Next viewers were left 'sobbing' last night after a man discovered he was tied up and left in the garden by his abusive foster parents.
Thankfully, grandfather Geoffrey Tonks, from Staffordshire, has no recollection of the vile abuse he suffered and only found out about his cruel past after being reunited with his long lost half-sister Barbara Jacobs.
Geoffrey was the product of a wartime affair and spent his early years in a Barnardo’s children’s home after his mother Betty was forced to give him up upon her husband’s return from the battlefield.
He had spent time in several foster homes before his adoption aged seven, and in last night's episode, while searching for more answers about his father, Geoffrey learns of the neglect he experienced as a child after seeing his adoption file for the first time.
The revelations left viewers in tears, with one person writing: 'This story broke my heart, Geoffrey seems like such a kind gentle man. His start in life was awful but he is still humble, loving and kind.'
Another person said: '#LongLostFamily normally has me in tears at the reunions, but hearing the reports of how Geoffrey was treated as a child at the foster homes was very upsetting.'
A third added: 'I am sobbing my heart out for Geoffrey,' while a fourth Twitter user wrote: 'I’m so glad Geoffrey and Barbara have one another now.'Geoffrey and his maternal half-sister, from Hampshire, were reunited on the ITV programme in 2018 after Barbara contacted the programme.
Before meeting his sibling, Geoffrey had no desire to meet any biological relatives, insisting: 'You don’t look back'.
But the success of his close relationship with Barbara completely changed Geoffrey’s thinking and he has become an avid detective in finding out about his past.
With Barbara and his wife of more than 50 years Wendy by his side, Geoffrey was filmed opening up his adoption file for the first time.
However, the devastating report showed that he was removed from one foster home when neighbours reported the carers for neglect - telling authorities that he'd been mistreated and left tied up in the garden.
Barbara broke down into tears following the news, sobbing: 'Who would do that to a young boy? Thank god he can't remember.'
Geoffrey was taken away from the foster parents, who were banned from looking after any more children following the reports of neglect.
However, Geoffrey also found that his biological father George Holland paid for maintenance for his son and wrote many adoring letters about him.
His father, who had a wife and a ten-year-old daughter at the time, briefly took Geoffrey in.
But he was forced back into the system when George's wife said that she couldn't look after another woman's child.
Unfortunately, Geoffrey's parents had both died before he had a chance to meet them, as well as his older sister on his father's side.
But the grandfather was left delighted when presenter Nicky Campbell revealed he had four nieces, his paternal half-sister's daughters, to meet at the end of the show.