Chapter 23 : Happy New Year
I have just spent my first Christmas and New Years with my family since I was 17 years old. That was a lot of years ago. I’ve had a couple here and there with my son, but never just the four of us. I am going in to the New Year full of hope, that this year will be better than ever.
Since being home, I have managed to enjoy the family time, despite ‘him’ being just up the road. Whereas before, I would think about it and feel anxiety every time I left the house and passed his, now, I can pass without giving him a second thought. That is, unless I am with my family. This is still new and raw for them, they are only at the beginning of their journey, so the hurt is deep, the hate is deep, as is their guilt over not knowing, missing so much of my life, and for feeling hate. They are not a hateful family, they are kind and generous, but until this is over, it will be hard for them. When we pass, there is usually a comment about how his Christmas will be terrible for him this year and that he deserves it, wondering if his grown up children know yet despite the protestation of their mother who has insisted that they will never find out! I know this from her sister. She is good friends with the family, and my dad and her husband have over the years traded garden secrets and bags of horse manure. The wife hasn’t told her sister, she has carried on as if nothing has happened, but now it is out in the open, so things have changed.
Last week we had the first court hearing. Yes, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) have looked at the evidence, and decided that they have enough to charge him with 5 different counts of indecent assault on a minor. I was thrilled with that news, it meant that the pain I have put my family through has not been in vain, and they believed they had a good case! Happy was an understatement. After the charges were read in court at the preliminary hearing, the local newspaper picked up the story and named him, gave his age and street that he lived. I thought that that was a little too much information, but for the family, it was the good news that was needed. Up until the newspaper article, they were very cautious about who they told. They didn’t want to do or say anything that would damage my case, but after that, seeing it in black and white, it was out there, they could speak about it, the neighbours cut out the article to show their friends and fellow neighbours. The shock rippled through the neighbourhood, and in church, everyone offered their support to the family. The vicar gave my mum a hug that lasted a just a little longer than normal, offering comfort and calm, and love. During the giving of peace, each handshake was a little tighter, with a knowing look and sadness in everybody’s eyes. I don’t think he knew that he could cause this much damage to the community. He changed his plea again to ‘Not Guilty’ for 4 of the charges, and said that he was guilty of the one charge, but unlike his previous defense where he claimed I asked him to, it changed to say that he did, but I wasn’t eleven, I was 14. Err, that is still a child you moron! This statement did worry me though, and I had to look in to the events surrounding it more closely than before, and I realized I had made a mistake. My stomach sank; I thought I had ruined everything. I shall tell you what happened with that in my next post.
He has now been bailed until the end of February, where there shall be a case management and plea hearing. We are getting closer and closer to it becoming a jury trial, and that scares me to death. I honestly thought, or hoped that he would do the right thing, and plead guilty to avoid all of this. He has never denied it before to me, he has continuously apologised over the years when I have confronted him about it, he has even offered advice on forgiving him to make things easier for me, but he hasn’t.
He has now signed on to the sex offenders register for the first charge, but no one can see that unless he applies for a job with children, and at 83 and sick, that isn’t going to happen any time soon, so now I have to hope that justice works.
Meanwhile, I have had to confront this face on, and prepare a statement of impact for the courts. I have been putting off this chore for several weeks, unable to face listing all of the times, events and failings of my life that can be attributed to this one month period of time.
Feeling optimistic for the New Year, I set aside some time, and finally did it. I don’t know if it is right, but this is the closest I can summarize the impact it has had on me. It could be that this is a first draft, and the police require something totally different. I should find out soon though. It was uncomfortable to do, and I would be distraught if I had to read this to the court. Hopefully, the court Clarke can read it on my behalf.
There is some information that I have found interesting on the following website. It clearly explains what is needed from both me and the defendant.
This is a page from the website of Tuckers Solicitors; Useful Information