On Tuesday 12th July 2010 my abusers were arrested and questioned by the police.
I was not prepared for how I was going to react to that news. Their arrest was a huge wobble moment for me. On the one hand it was wonderful to know they’d been told of the allegations, arrested and taken to the local police station for questioning. It was phenomenally wonderful to think they’d now be forced to face up to the truth. On the other hand there was a part of me that was scared stiff about what they may say. I was terrified the police would be taken in by their lies, denials and charming front. Although part of me knew they’d try to lie and deny their way through it, there was part of me that thought the shock of being arrested would shake them out of their denial.
Instead to my immense shock they lied, denied and play acted throughout the police interviews and no confessions happened. I was not prepared for that scenario.
That completely shattered me. Up until that point I’d been carefully controlled in my sessions, my emotions were kept in check, if tears began I swallowed them back down. There was no way I was crying in front of any of my support workers.
As a child I learned from a very early age that tears were ‘bad’. Bad things happened if I cried. If I cried when they beat, raped and tortured me they made it hurt even more. If I showed any response to what they were doing to me they deliberately made it worse. My abusers taught me that emotions were bad – whatever the emotion may be, it was bad to have emotions and unacceptable to express them in any way. If I cried, got frustrated or angry, for example, I was mocked and put down.
So it is a very rare, almost unheard of event for me to cry. Some friends who’ve known me for 20 or 25 years have never seen me cry or known me cry because I’ve been so shut off from my emotions.
But the day I faced the news of my abusers’ denials with my SARC worker changed all that. Within five minutes of me entering the room my false smile was gone, my composure completely collapsed and I cried and cried and cried, it was like a dam burst.
I’d always believed my father to be weak and to have a conscience. I knew my mother and brother would deny and lie their way through it but I always believed my father would crack and spill the beans and implicate everyone.
The shock of the realisation that something completely different had happened was too much to bear. It felt like a total betrayal. I realised that day I was going to have a fight on my hands if I was going to get justice. It was not going to be as straight forward as I thought it might be. I really thought he’d crack under questioning but he just denied everything.
As I considered what had happened I realised that probably no confessions were made because, let’s face it my mother is a formidable woman and everyone is scared of her. My father was probably too terrified of her to do anything else but lie. My brother is in as deep a state of denial and hiding behind religion as my mother. For all I know they may even have made a pact years ago that if this ever tried to come out they would just blanket deny everything.
They probably thought “we’ll just deny it all, they’ll realise she’s just a silly little trouble maker and it’ll just go away as if it never happened.”
Everything was silently screaming out of me to the police and CPS “please do not drop the case; please don’t be taken in by their lies and denials; don’t let them get away with their lies and denials; please don’t do that to me.”
The investigating officer told me my abusers were “very angry to be visited by the police and to have such allegations made against them, they loudly pronounced their innocence and said the allegations were totally unfounded.”
I found that piece of information very hard to take in. I would have been far better off not hearing it.
My abusers’ denials meant they were released on unconditional bail for a month and the case referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to prosecute and if so, what they were to be charged with. How different things would have been if the police could have obtained a confession. But, in the event, they were unable to break any of my abusers down under questioning.
Raw pain poured out of me that day. My worker talked me through the pain and sense of betrayal the denials had caused me to feel. My SARC worker’s acceptance of my tears helped me accept them a little although I felt very awkward and didn’t know what to do with myself. But all I could do was cry that day.
It was the beginning of me being able to begin to cry. It’s not been an easy journey learning to cry. Many times I’ve gone back to the old shutting down, swallowing them back down way of coping, even when sitting alone at home. I’d cried that day in front of my SARC support worker and it had been safe. She did not mock my tears but worked with them. Even though that had happened I had future sessions when I swallowed the tears down rather than let her see them. It took me several weeks to realise it was totally safe to cry in front of my support workers.
The release of my abusers on unconditional bail was the beginning of a long agonising wait for the decision.
It was also the beginning of me fearing for my safety. My abusers told me that if I ever told “they’d hunt me down, find me and kill me.” It doesn’t matter how many times I was told by the police “but they don’t know where you are”. They know the town I live in, and it is a small town. My abusers threats were very real and had kept me silent for so many years, now I was facing that fear head on.
I allowed myself to begin to dream of obtaining justice for myself and for the little girl inside of me who’d been so brave in breaking her silence and beginning to tell. It was such a horrific case that neither I, nor my witnesses, could see any other outcome but it going to court. The police officer who did the interviews with me was convinced it was going all the way to court and had spoken to me about the tactics a defence lawyer might try to use and how strong I was going to have to be to go through the trial. She also said "how much she was looking forward to going up to Cumbria for a couple of days to give evidence at my trial."
It was all looking and sounding really positive. I knew the truth was that it was a truly horrific case.
Such was the level of the brutality I experienced at the hands of my abusers that as far as I’m concerned the names of my abusers belong in the same notorious company as Ian Brady, Myra Hindley, Fred + Rose West and other well known convicted child abusers and child killers.
I could not believe it would not go to trial. I could not believe I wouldn’t get justice because of the harrowing nature of my evidence.
One week before my abusers’ bail was due to end I received a phone call. I thought I was about to be told that the case was either being dropped to being taken to trial. Instead I was told that bail was being extended from early July to the end of September to give the CPS time to trawl through all the evidence and seriously consider it. I was not prepared for that scenario and it threw me a little but I was greatly encouraged by that development.
During that phone call the investigating officer said to me “they [i.e. my abusers] won’t be happy”. I replied “So what? What has their happiness got to do with any of this? They did not consider my happiness when they were torturing and abusing me. Why should I or you care about their happiness?”
I was incensed at that comment to be honest, it was totally unhelpful and I really did not need to hear that from the investigating officer. She had nothing to say in response to that and I ended the call at that point.
I wondered again about what was really going on and just how much she’d been taken in by them.
However with the bail extension I began to think I was going to get the outcome I so desired and needed. For the CPS to request a bail extension and spend so long considering the case there must be something really compelling about it.
I thought my abusers would have been thinking the initial bail date would come and the allegations dropped because of their lies and denials and the whole thing would just go away. I also thought that when their bail was extended it would be a huge shock to them and they’d start to realise they were in bigger trouble than they originally thought.
After my abusers’ bail was extended people in the town where they live witnessed them completely alter their behaviour. They stopped all their charity work and stopped going to church citing serious illness as the reason; more evidence of the deliberate devious accomplished liars they really are. They were witnessed dumping stuff at a local tip which was very suspicious. It bore out all my gut instincts of how they’d respond to the bail extension. It showed me and those who witnessed their activities that they knew they were in trouble and thought they could be going down for it. Regardless of whether they choose to live in denial they know the truth as much as I do. They know they did terrible things just as I do.
I tried to speak to the investigating officer about what was going on. She was very dismissive towards me and told me I was being "unhelpful and silly and no way would my abusers do anything like that". She would not accept that I was the expert and knew them far better than she did. Suddenly she was the expert on my abusers and not me. I began to suspect all the more that she’d lost her objectivity and been taken in by them to some degree.
I asked why the house had never been searched or forensically examined. She said "stop being silly, there wouldn’t be any evidence in the house after all these years". I thought that was very short sighted knowing of many historic cases where properties have been searched and forensically examined 30, 40 or more years later and yielded valuable evidence.
She said “they’d have gotten rid of any evidence 25 years ago when they kicked you out and disowned you.”
I said “No, not necessarily, that is a flawed assumption to make, my abusers thought they had my silence for life, they never imagined I’d ever speak out, when they discovered I’d told they imagined that if they lied and denied it, it would go away, but now they realise there is more to it than that and it is entirely plausible that they could be using the extra bail time to dump/destroy evidence. I know how devious and cunning they really are, and that is should at least be noted down.”
I was told this was “really unhelpful and I was being very silly”. I wondered yet again what was really going on with my case. She told me to relax, forget all about it and be patient which was extremely patronising at the very least. As far as she was concerned there was more than enough evidence before the CPS and they didn’t have to go looking for any more.
I felt like I was a little pest who had nothing useful to say or of value to add. She again told me to “stop being silly, my parents had a right to get on with their life legitimately while on bail.”
I felt my abusers had more rights than me the ‘victim’ in the case. She also totally missed the point that there is a difference between legitimate behaviour and suspicious behaviour.
To be told my parents could just get on with their lives while I could not get on with my life until I received the prosecution decision was extremely painful and condescending.
When I was a child and tried to tell people all was not as it seemed at home with my parents I was told to “stop being silly, no way would they possibly do anything like that, they are upstanding members of the church and pillars of the community, don’t speak ill about your parents, respect them.“
Some of the same words the investigating officer used when I tried to report my concerns about their suspicious behaviour - “Stop being silly, no way would they possibly do anything like that”.
To be honest I lost respect for the investigating officer after being spoken to in that manner.
The attitude and tone of that call triggered me right back into the tiny frightened child who was told in no uncertain terms many times that she was silly, unimportant and had nothing of any importance or relevance to say and had no value so should just keep quiet and go away.
The intensity of the pain I was triggered into ratcheted up my suicide risk to a very high level and at that point I was referred to the mental health crisis team for my own safety. I wanted to commit suicide despite my strong will to survive and stay alive. I was also seriously self-harming. Somehow I got through that very difficult, wobbly, painful week before receiving the final CPS decision on the case.
The obvious changes in my abusers’ behaviour did not go unnoticed in the small town of Whitehaven. People have been asking questions about “what is really going on with the Nicholson’s?” In response people are beginning to be told by those in the know that they were arrested, questioned over serious child abuse allegations concerning their daughter and were on bail while the investigation continued. It was good for me to begin to realise the truth was coming out which helped me cope with the final CPS decision.
I will discuss that decision, its implications and affect upon me in the final part of this story.
I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. This blog has helped me get my voice back and documents the journey I'm on to heal from the trauma and damage caused by that appalling abuse. Now is the time for me to tell of MY experience by speaking the truth about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being repaired. Without God in my life I wouldn't still be here. But somehow, I keep on staying alive, surviving and rarely, occasionally, living a little!