June 2008

‘He ruined my girl’s childhood and has never shown any remorse for trauma he put her through…’

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An angry Co Antrim mum last night hit out at a pervert neighbour for ” destroying” her daughter’s childhood.

Kate from Newtownabbey and daughter Angela waived their right to anonymity to slam sicko Desmond Graham after he was convicted at Belfast Crown Court of indecent assault.

Although Graham continued to plead his innocence, it took a jury just over 30 minutes to find him guilty of preying on the innocent schoolgirl.

The court heard how the 39-year-old sex-fiend:

l Attempted to put his hands inside her underwear.

l Tried to force his hands down her top.

l Attempted to kiss her.

l Left condoms on a coffee table.

l Claimed he was watching films at the time of the assault.

l Tried to brand a police officer a “liar”.

Graham has been placed on the sex offenders’ register and is due to be sentenced in August.

Speaking exclusively to Sunday Life, Kate (32) told how Angela has been left “traumatised” by her experience.

She said: “My daughter was a quiet girl who just loved life.

“But then this monster took away her innocence.

“Angela became a totally different person after this experience and I can’t believe this man, who was a neighbour of ours, would attempt to attack my daughter in this way.

“She started smoking and missed school and this is all because she didn’t know what way to react to what she had been put through.

“Angela is still receiving counselling and we are now just attempting to get her life back on track after everything that she has been through.

“No child should have to go experience such sickening behaviour like this. I just hope he gets what he deserves when he is sentenced.

“Once he saw my daughter in the house, he was determined to abuse her and it’s only through the grace of God that she managed to escape.”

CONVICTION

Kate also praised her daughter’s young pal for giving evidence during the trial.

She added: “If it wasn’t for Angela’s wee friend, then we might not have got a conviction.

“It was very brave of her friend to come forward and give evidence against Graham.

“They stood up to a pervert and they have to be commended.

“It was bad enough Graham attacking my daughter, but I can’t believe he made two innocent girls go through the trauma of having to give evidence in a court by pleading not guilty.

“The evidence against him was so strong that he must have been crazy to think he was going to walk away from the court.

“We had to send Angela on a holiday after she gave evidence because this whole thing has just been a nightmare from day one.

“He was just a coward who preyed on a young girl, while my daughter and her friend showed tremendous courage in standing up to him.

“We were 1,000 per cent convinced Graham would be found guilty and we’re just so relieved we have been vindicated after going through two years of hell.

“I never doubted my daughter and anyone who had doubts about the allegations should now hang their heads in shame.”

And she urged other victims of sexual abuse to come forward, adding: ” It’s imperative that people come forward if they are subjected to any forms of sexual abuse.

“We could have remained anonymous, but we just wanted to take a stand against people like Graham and show the people of Northern Ireland that we are not afraid of these perverts.

“I would be willing to speak to other victims to share our experiences and do what I can to help other people who may be afraid to come forward. I feel sorry for Graham’s family, but people like him should be exposed.

ASSAULTED

“He ruined my daughter’s childhood and has never shown any remorse for what he put her through — I will never forgive him for what he did.”

The mum stressed: “The only way to deal with people like him is through the proper channels and not through some for vigilante action.

“He never showed any emotion when he was found guilty, but I will be back in court to confront him and ask him why he attacked my daughter.”

Angela, now 14, was assaulted when she was aged 12 at alcoholic Graham’s home.

She had gone to the fiend’s house with her pal to visit a young relative.

But it was during the visit that boozed-up Graham — now living at an address in Coleraine — indecently assaulted the terrified child.

After attempting to put his hand down her underwear and up her top, he also attempted to kiss her when she was sitting on a chair. The girl fled from the house in tears.

Incredibly, Graham also denied the condoms belonged to him because, he claimed in court, his wife was “sterile” and he had no plans to use them.

Eileen Calder, of the Rape Crisis Centre, praised Kate’s daughter for coming forward.

She added: “This young girl was very brave to come forward after she was subjected to a terrifying experience.

“She is an example to all young girls who may be reluctant to come forward because they are afraid.

“Victims of indecent assault should not have to suffer in silence and we would like to praise Angela.

“We would also like to commend her mother because she has been very brave in waiving her right to anonymity.”