August 2007

Victim of abuse reveals ordeal

A YOUNG mum has spoken out about the years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather after he was convicted last week of abusing another youngster.

Former company director Andrew John Turner, aged 52, of Whitworth Road was sentenced to two years behind bars last Thursday after he was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault following a trial at Bolton Crown Court.

He had denied the charges.

But in February 2006 he admitted six specimen counts of indecent assault against his stepdaughter and was given 30 months behind bars, of which he served half, was banned indefinitely from working with children and placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Now stepdaughter, Nicola, who was abused by Turner for six years from the age of eight, has waived her right to anonymity and told her story in the hope of encouraging other victims of abuse to go to the police.

Nicola, aged 25, said: “When it first started I didn’t understand what was happening.

“As I got older, I started to realise it was wrong and wanted it to stop, but didn’t know how.

“I told my friend and she said I should write it all in my diary and leave it where my mum could find it.

“My biggest fear was that she wouldn’t believe me.

“But she came to pick me up from school and told me she’d read something that she didn’t think she was supposed to see.

“I told her, No, I meant for her to see it. Then everything just spilled out and we both sat there crying.”

Nicola’s mother took her to the police, who interviewed the youngster and asked her if she wanted to press charges.

At the time she felt too frightened by the prospect of a court case to take things further and it was only years later, after becoming a mother herself, that she felt ready to bring her abuser to justice.

She added: “I never had a sense of closure about it, especially as he was still swanning around like nothing had happened.

“I’d see him on nights out and he’d come over and offer to buy me drinks. It made me feel sick.

“Once I’d had my son and was pregnant with my little girl I knew then that enough was enough. If anyone did that to my children I would kill them.”

The second victim had no idea Turner had already been convicted of abusing Nicola at the time she reported her own experience to police in 2006.

Although Turner pleaded guilty to abusing Nicola, he denied the counts of abuse against the second girl, but with the help of a damning statement from Nicola about her own ordeal, which was read out in court, the jury returned a guilty verdict.

Despite vowing not to let what she went through ruin her life, Nicola says the first few years after the abuse ended were tough.

She had frequent nightmares and until her early 20s she found it almost impossible to settle in relationships as she wasn’t able to trust men.

But she says she has no regrets about seeking justice and speaks highly of the way police handled her case.

She added: “Rochdale CID were brilliant with me. When it came to court, they stayed with me right up to the end.

“When someone is abusing you, you feel at the time like they have won. Now it’s the case that I won’t let him win anymore.”