Abuse victim speaks out

A PORTISHEAD woman who was sexually abused by her stepfather for nine years has told the Times how it affected her life and why she decided to finally speak up.

Karyn Lockett, aged 41, has given up her right to remain anonymous to speak about her relief following a Bristol Crown Court trial which has resulted in 65-year-old Nicholas Packer, of Mill Lane, Portbury, being jailed for 11 years for 14 counts of sexual abuse, gross indecency and indecent assaults towards her and three other girls between 1971-1987.

Karyn was just eight years old when she began suffering at the hands of Packer, who was also ordered to sign a sex offenders register for an indefinite period, aided by her mother Anne Packer, who was convicted of one count of assault after holding Karyn down while her stepfather whipped her with a stick.

Karyn, who has been married twice and has four children, hopes her story will encourage other people living with the ‘horrible burden’ of childhood sexual abuse to come forward and report their attackers.

She said: “It’s not something I wanted to talk about but it has become a lot easier and I hope that because of it more people will have the courage to speak up instead of holding onto misplaced loyalty.

“It’s the worst thing in the world to have to shop your own parents to the police. All I ever wanted was a normal mum and dad.”

Karyn did not tell anyone what had happened to her until she was 39, in the hope she could build some kind of relationship with her 59-year-old mother, also of Mill Lane.

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Disappointed with the three-month suspended sentence handed to her mother on August 22, she said: “All I have ever wanted all my life was my mum to be a mum to me and I had always kept the faith that things would change, and did lots of things for her to get her to love me but all of it was in vain.”

Karyn, who has suffered a mental breakdown and has not been able to work since telling police about the abuse, kept her secret for more than 30 years to protect her younger half-siblings, who grew up having a normal relationship with their parents.

Her husband Mark revealed the truth to her half-sister a few years ago, which meant Karyn could finally report her abuse.

Karyn said: “It took a lot of strength to go to the police. It was a very scary thing to do because it’s such a taboo subject.

“I didn’t want other people to judge me so I couldn’t leave the house afterwards. But it was a relief to be believed by them.”

DC Ian Prideaux was singled out by Judge Ian Pringle for a Judge’s Commendation for his work ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ bringing the case to court.

He said: “This case took more than two years of my life and I got to know everybody involved. This was a really difficult offence to investigate because there is no forensic evidence, you are relying on people’s memories.

“I am so pleased for Karyn and the other victims, it means they can now begin the healing process.”

Karyn, who is a seamstress, hopes to return to work soon and move on with her life with the support of her natural father, who she found via a social networking website three years ago, as well as another half-brother.

She wants to campaign to raise awareness for child abuse, including supporting a drug to stop paedophiles from having sexual urges.

She said: “Paedophilia is a cross-wiring of the brain and it can’t be cured until sexual urges have gone.

“Once a paedophile, always a paedophile, it doesn’t matter how long a sentence they serve, those urges stay with them until they die.

“The only way to protect the community effectively is to use this jab as part of their punishment.”