July 2009

Pervert gets 17 years

A PAEDOPHILE who played Santa at a children’s hospital has been jailed for 17 years for a sickening career of child abuse that began when he was aged 11.

Alan Hunt’s crimes against three victims spanned three decades — and included his own sister and daughter.

They bravely waived their legal right to anonymity to speak out against the monster.

Sister Tracey Hull, 41, and daughter Susan, 29, both self-harmed and tried to commit suicide.

Hunt, 48, of Swindon, Wilts, was a popular figure at hospitals as a motorbike-riding Santa for 12 years.

But he admitted nine sex offences against his sister and was convicted of three more. He was also convicted of 19 offences against Susan and two on another girl.The abuse of Susan began when she was 11 and continued until she was in her 20s — even when she was pregnant.

After Hunt was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court, Tracey said: “Every day I live with the guilt that I didn’t say anything at the time. I might have saved his daughter and the other girl.”

Susan said: “When the abuse started, the man who was my dad died and I was left with this monster. Part of the reason I did not come forward earlier was because he did so much in the community. No one would believe that ‘nice’ man would do this.”

Judge Mark Horton told the former school caretaker: “For the entirety of your life since the age of 11 you have represented a danger to girls and women.

“You stole their childhoods and robbed them of their ability to develop proper relationships.”

When the abuse began, my dad became this monster

HE dressed up as Santa to bring hope to sick children but he killed his own daughter’s dreams by stealing her innocence.

Hunt … as biker Santa

Eleven-year-old Susan Hunt said “it’s okay” after her father Alan Hunt promised he would never sneak into her room again at night.

But it was not okay, as her father broke the promise again and again after that first time he sexually assaulted her at their home in Pinehurst.

Years later she faced him in Swindon Crown Court and saw him convicted of 20 counts of indecent assault against her from the ages of 11 to 23.

Susan – now 29 – saw a secret, dark side to her father. But the outside world knew a man who donned a Santa’s outfit to bring presents to children in the Great Western Hospital every year – a generous charity volunteer.

It took her until 2007 to have the courage to reveal the other side that left her terrified of being alone with him.

The expressive brunette – who plans to become a writer – remembers how her carefree days of playing with Barbie ended when her body started to show signs of early womanhood. Suddenly her father invaded her bath time and started coming to her bedroom at night.

“When the abuse started, my dad died and I was left with this monster,” said Susan.

“When I was 11 he insisted on washing me. It was so uncomfortable and took a long time. Then he started coming into my bedroom.

“It was like a routine – he would do what he wanted to do – then he was on his knees, crying and saying: ‘sorry,’ that he couldn’t help himself, and it wouldn’t happen again.

“As a terrified child, I would say ‘it is okay’.

“I hated it.”

“I know he has no remorse. Right now he is probably sitting in jail thinking: ‘I can’t believe after all this time she has come forward.’ He thought he had got away with it.”

Trying to make herself less noticeable to him, Susan stopped washing and wore baggy T-shirts and boys’ jeans – anything to hide from the sexual abuse.

It continued into her 20s after she had left home and was even a mother herself, living in different parts of Swindon.

“I was good at making sure I had somebody with me most of the time,” said the mum-of-seven. “But he had the ability to turn up sometimes when I was alone. If I was expecting him I would get my friends around quick. But every once in a while he would catch me alone.”

The fear of being caught led her to drawing curtains during the day and being reluctant to leave the house. The sound of any motorbike sent her into a blind panic that her biker father was close.

“It got to the point where my curtains were drawn during the day,” said Susan, a former Headlands pupil. “I was terrified he would come around,” she said.

“I was scared to take my kids to school.

“The last time he did something my children were in bed upstairs. I was so scared he would go into their room.”

The dread of Hunt being a potential harm to youngsters drove her to the police.

After constant encouragement from social services and friends she finally reported him in 2007.

“I didn’t want him to be around kids,” she said. “Part of the reason I did not come forward was because he did so much in the community. He would do anything for anybody.

“I thought: ‘there is no way people would believe this nice man could do this’. He would go out of his way for anyone – he was a Jekyll and Hyde.”

But people did believe, including the jury. Her loyal friends also stood by her – and acted as witnesses in court.

They don’t want to be identified but when the Adver went to meet Susan in one of their homes, they sat patiently listening.

Susan – who has moved to London – looks younger than 29 and sat cross-legged on an armchair as she recounted the hell of the court case.

Hunt, 48, of Midhurst Avenue, Park North, was convicted three weeks ago. He shaved off his goatie beard and long hair for the three-day hearing and will find out his punishment at Gloucester Crown Court today.

Susan said she doesn’t even care if he goes to prison, and is just relieved he will be on the sex offenders’ register.

“As he watched my video interview, which was shown to the court, he looked like he was looking at a television programme,” said Susan.

“I felt so sorry for the jury and other people in the court having to listen to the awful details,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to hear this – it was hard enough for me to deal with it.

“I don’t want anyone to feel sorry or to give me special treatment – I will deal with this on my own.”

A psychologist has told Susan her dad built himself up to be a hero in her eyes. From Hunt’s involvement in the community – he acted as a hero to others as well. But now the illusion has come crashing down.

“He is the nicest person in the world but then he did that to me,” she said.

l THE law gives all victims of sexual attacks lifetime anonymity but Susan has bravely waived her right to help encourage anyone else who may have suffered in the past but kept silent to go to the police.