August 2005

My grandfather abused me for years

FOR more than a decade Carley Singfield suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her grandfather.

After the years of torment she finally went to the police and an in-depth investigation led to his conviction as a sex offender at Maidstone Crown Court.

It took detectives more than a year to piece the case together. John Singfield was given an 18-month suspended sentence after admitting some of his sex crimes.

Now his 30-year-old granddaughter has waived her right to anonymity to speak to the Kentish Express about the devastating effect the years of abuse have had on her.

She was just a little girl when her grandfather began abusing her.

For more than a decade, until she turned 15, the abuse would occur every time she went to her grandfather’s home at Bournewood in the village of Hamstreet, near Ashford.

She could not bring herself to call him granddad. She felt he gave up the right to that title when he molested her. To Carley he was just Jack.

Now, years later, after drug problems, relationship failures and emotional torture, she is finally getting her life back.

She has a solid, stable relationship, two lovely children and a job as a life counsellor. Soon she will be working with people who have also endured traumatic childhoods.

She said: “Jack sexually abused me from the age of five. It caused me a hell of a lot of damage. It stopped when I was 15 because I was able to make up my own mind whether or not I saw him.

“Before that, it had happened every single time I saw him. Every time the need took him I was abused.”

Carley finally spoke up about the years of abuse she endured at his hands following the funeral of her grandmother at which he had touched her inappropriately.

She said: “That was the worst move he ever made. I was strong enough to know it had to stop, that others were at risk.

“It took me a couple of years to sort it all out in my mind, but when I finally made up my mind to tell the police it was a great feeling. I needed resolution.”

But her decision to give evidence against the now frail 85-year-old has split her family.

She is being supported by one uncle, but the rest of her family, including her own father, have disowned her.

Police spoke to more than 40 members of the family, but very few would talk about what had gone on.

“They will say that I am the one who is keeping away from them but they know the truth. I feel deeply betrayed by my father. He even wrote to the judge to ask for leniency and said that is what I wanted too.

“It was not. I hate Jack. He is not my grandfather. He gave up the right to that title when he abused me. I have got my life back.

“The message I want to get across is that we are not victims; we are survivors and there are a lot of people like me out there. I went to court to see him sentenced and he couldn’t look at me,” she added.

She says Singfield has caused her untold sexual, mental and emotional problems making her mistrust men and be overly protective of her children.

“He robbed me of my childhood. He is an evil, manipulative man who still has a hold over other members of this family. But not me. I am free now. I have been cast out by the family, but I am still free.”