A TEENAGER who suffered a decade of sexual abuse at the hands of her father has bravely spoken out about her experiences in a bid to give other victims the confidence to report similar crimes.
EIGHTEEN year-old- Ceri-Ann Morgan didn’t have a childhood. The man who should have been there to guide her through it took it away from her when he began sexually assaulting her four times a week.
From the age of four she endured sexual attacks and was threatened with death by her father if she dared tell anyone.
But now after she finally had the courage to speak out, Carl Morgan, 45, formerly of Brynglas, Hollybush, Cwmbran, is starting a 20 year jail sentence.
He will serve at least ten years behind bars after being found guilty of six counts of sexual assault, four of indecent assault, one engaging a child in sexual activity and one of rape, all relating to his daughter, between 1999 and 2010.
Judge David Wynn Morgan branded him a “cold-blooded paedophile” and banned him from working with children for life.
But despite his conviction Miss Morgan, who contacted the Argus to tell her story and waived her legal right to anonymity, says she still finds it hard to believe the nightmare is over and has now taken the brave decision to waive her right to anonymity to show others help is available
She said: “I was four years old when it first started.
“I didn’t know what was happening to me. I thought it was normal for a dad to do things like that with their daughters.
“He used to say we were playing a game, I just went along with it, I didn’t know better.
“It was four times a week throughout my childhood.”
Three years later, when she was just seven years old, her dad raped her for the first time.
She said: “He told me to go upstairs to his bedroom. I wanted it all to stop. I did tell him to stop, I said I didn’t want to play any more but he just wouldn’t.”
As she got older her father’s attitude towards her changed. He became angry towards her, sometimes wouldn’t talk to her and became jealous of her relationships with other people, she said.
He was aggressive and always shouting, she said.
When she was 15 the Cwmbran teenager began socialising more with friends in a bid to escape his grasp and the abuse happened less often as a result. It eventually stopped in 2010 when she met a boyfriend.
Her dad did not approve of the relationship, triggered by fear, she believes, that she would tell him what he had done to her.
In 2012 Miss Morgan became worried he could be abusing others. She went to the police and told them her ordeal.
She said: “I thought this was my chance to come out with it because if he was home I wouldn’t have ever been able to. He would go mad, I was scared of his reaction.”
In the months that followed she moved out of home and lived in several hostels until the case finally went to trial in April this year.
She gave evidence via video link so she didn’t have to face her father in court but still found the process “nerve wracking” knowing her attacker was watching her.
Finally after years of suffering she got the justice she deserved when he was jailed for 20 years.
She said: “It made me feel glad that I’ve got justice, but it still didn’t really feel good.
“I only thought he would get five or six years, so this was like somebody finally saying yes, that is a terrible thing that’s happened to you.
“I feel that I may have protected other people that could have been abused by him in the future. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.
“Sometimes I still feel like I see him walking around in the street. It’s going to take a while but I want to get on with my life.”
“I just want people to know that there are places out there who can help you.
“The police, victim support and Women’s Aid – you don’t have to be embarrassed to talk about what has happened. They are understanding, you don’t have to be scared.”
Miss Morgan, who lost her retail job as a result of the stress brought on by the court case, is now seeking counselling and is eager to get back to work.
She is determined to move on with her life and never wants to see her dad again.
She said: “I said everything I wanted to say to him in my personal statement in court. I never want to see him again.”
She added: “I just want people who are like me to know that they can come forward and be strong – I’ve gone from being a shy little timid girl to a strong independent woman.”
Detective Constable Cerith Griffiths, who dealt with the case, said: “Ceri-Ann showed great strength and courage throughout this investigation.
“Recalling the distressing times she suffered during the ten years of abuse must have been extremely difficult for her, but by doing so she has helped to secure a lengthy prison sentence against her father.
“By speaking openly to media she will hopefully encourage other victims of sexual abuse to have the confidence to speak to police. We have specialist officers on hand who, along with our partner agencies, can offer full and appropriate support throughout.”
Sally Howells, of Torfaen Women’s Aid, praised Miss Morgan’s positive attitude.
She said: “She’s been great in the face of adversity – being in a hostel, losing her job because of the pressure she was going through.
“She’s been amazing, she’s never wavered from the fact she was going to do this and wanted other people to know that if they were in a similar position they can get help. She’s amazing for such a young person.”
* Victims of domestic and sexual abuse can get confidential help and advice from Women’s Aid.
It has centres all over Gwent including, Newport, Pontypool, Cwmbran and Blaenavon. Contact 01495 742052 or 01633 624240 for more information.