May 2016

Jailed: Man who sexually abused vulnerable boy from age of 9

David Acres

A CHIPPENHAM man who suffered sexual abuse for seven years as child at the hands of a 64-year-old man has urged other victims of abuse not to live in fear of speaking out, after his abuser was jailed for 16 years.

David Acres, 64, of Deansway, was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court earlier this month after being found guilty of four sex offences dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered night terrors, drink and drug problems and contemplated suicide as a result of the abuse, which began when he was nine.

“I’d been unable to sleep, it affected my work ability,” said the man, who is in his forties and still lives in Chippenham.

“They weren’t nightmares they were night terrors. I was reliving the events and it got to a stage where I was afraid of going to sleep because it was accessing memories which I shut away.

“I turned to alcohol and drugs because it was a short stop release and I was using them to help me sleep.”

Acres’ abuse first took place in 1984 and continued until 1991. But it was a further three years before the victim told anyone.

“I was at college in Chippenham and we were told we could donate blood at the Olympiad,” he said.

“When I went there was a question which said ‘have you had unprotected anal sex?’ and the bloke there could see I was getting sweaty and white with shock.

“I said I can’t give blood and he said ‘I think I know why and you need to speak with someone’.

“I told my lecturers and friends and that was the first time I’d told anyone.

“When I told my mum she was mortified because she’d been absolutely clueless.

“My family were scared for my physical and mental health.

“There were a couple of times I came close to suicide because I felt unclean and dirty and at that time I was very unstable.”

The victim underwent counselling but refrained from telling police about the abuse for fear of repercussions against his family.

“It wasn’t just the threat of violence, it was the implied threat,” he added.

“My mum was very ill at the time and on pain killers and I feared that if I spoke out she would suffer violence.

“Two-and-a-half years ago I went to the police because I was a care assistant at the time and I believed very strongly in a duty of care to the community and the public in general and not just myself but my family.”

The victim was forced to relive the horrific events twice in a court room after there was a hung jury during Acres’ first trial in September 2015.

“I never expected it to be a hung jury and my life was put on hold because of it,” he said.

“I knew what was going on [at the sentencing] but it was like I was watching it in slow motion with the volume turned down.

“Do I think justice has been done? Yes I think justice was done but it’s been an uphill challenge.

“I need to thank the people for giving me the support, my family, work, the police who have been absolutely superb, Crown Prosecution Service and NSPCC.

“It’s not easy going forward if you’re a victim of abuse especially when it’s the same sex. But if me coming forward helps one person great, if it helps ten superb.

“If you suffer from abuse talk to someone, you have done nothing wrong, you are the victim.”