THE bravery and determination of two survivors in speaking out about sexual abuse they suffered more than 30 years ago has been praised by police as a man is jailed for 12 years.
Dyfed-Powys Police has commended the man and woman for their courage in reporting the abuser who took advantage of them as children, as well as their tireless cooperation throughout a three-year investigation and two trials.
The force was contacted by one of the survivors in 2017 when he reached a point in his life where he needed closure from his childhood suffering.
This report sparked a complex investigation which saw officer in the case DC Katie Wheeldon working with Interpol, the Irish Garda, social services and supporting a second survivor who also came forward with allegations against Ian Paul Davies.
DC Wheeldon said: “It has been a privilege to be able to support the two survivors through every step of the investigation, and I have to commend them for their bravery and determination in reporting the horrific abuse they were subject to.
“For both, reporting the crimes came as they needed a sense of closure from what they had suffered, and the hope that by speaking out they could also give others the confidence to come forward.
“It hasn’t been easy for them going over their past experiences, and particularly having to sit through two trials, but they have been so strong.”
When the first disclosure was made, officers heard that years of being abused sexually as a child had resulted in the survivor turning to a chaotic lifestyle.
He had reached a point where he was no longer able to hide what he went through and contacted police.
In a victim impact statement, he said the incidents had “ruined his life”.
“When I was a child, Ian took advantage of me, a young boy who didn’t realise it was wrong,” he wrote.
“When I did realise that it was wrong, I took it out on everyone. I started drinking, fighting and not caring about anything. As I got older it seemed as though I had put it to the back of my mind, but years later I kept having flashbacks and getting really depressed.
“Countless times I have contemplated suicide, but then I feel that if I did that then Ian would have won.”
As enquiries began to get underway, DC Wheeldon was contacted by a second person – who also made allegations against 54-year-old Davies.
Her abuse spanned several years and stopped when she hit puberty, leaving her constantly trying to understand why it had happened to her.
Her victim impact statement was read out at court, in which she wrote that she felt “pain, anguish, betrayal, loss and guilt” as a result of the abuse.
She added: “Throughout my life, I have tried to block it all out, hide away from the pain and confusion. I’ve learned to hide my emotions and to try and distance myself from how I am really feeling.
“But it is the quiet times when I am alone or in the middle of the night, the fears and anxieties come into my head.
“I ask myself if I had spoken up could I have prevented more abuse from happening?”
DC Wheeldon learned that the direction the survivors took their lives were completely different, but both were entirely influenced by the abuse they suffered.
As the investigation progressed, she contacted family members, former colleagues, social services teams and health professionals to build up a file of evidence against Davies, who was voluntary interviewed.
Despite denying the offences, a number of charges were secured against Davies. He appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court for a trial in January and was found guilty of some of the offences.
As the jury was unable to reach a unanimous or majority verdict on some of the indictments, a second trial took place at Mold Crown Court in July. Out of 18 charges, Davies was found guilty of 11.
He was later sentenced to 12 years in prison.
DC Wheeldon said: “The confidence in the survivors going through two trials was amazing. It’s not an easy process, but they maintained their dignity and determination and saw the case through to the end.
“The male was personally affected by the outcome of the first trial, as Davies was only found guilty of the charges against the female, and he felt his lifestyle led to the jury not believing him.
“I have spoken with him since, and he is just so, so happy that he has finally been believed – that was more important to him than the sentence that was handed.
“For us as a force, it is a strong sentence, but for the survivors, it was more important that their experiences were heard, believed and acted on.
“We have done all we can to support them over the past three years, with the help of partners at New Pathways, and we hope this outcome gives them the closure they have been waiting for.”