Hayling Island child predator who ‘ruined woman’s life’ proved guilty over sex abuse charges from 30 years ago
A WOMAN says she has been through the most ‘horrendous experience of her life’ – but feels relieved after historical charges against a predator who abused her when she was a child were found to be proved.
The lady, now in her 30s but who was aged between four and nine years old when the regular indecent assaults took place, told The News she was ‘relieved’ but ‘numb’ following the verdicts at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Hayling Island child-exploiter Raymond Hawker, of Castlemans Lane, was found to have committed the lewd acts by a unanimous jury following a trial in his absence.
He was deemed not fit to take the stand due to mental health issues after facing five charges of indecent assault on a female under the age of 10 years and one charge of inciting a girl under 14 years to commit an act of gross indecency.
Hawker, 78, will be sentenced on March 8 where he is set to avoid jail and instead faces the prospect of a supervision order, depending on medical assessments.
Speaking to The News after the case the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she doesn’t ‘care what happens to him now’, before adding: ‘Whatever punishment he receives will be minimal’.
After waiting more than two years for the case to be brought before the court due to postponements as assessments over Hawker took place, the victim said: ‘I haven’t been able to look past the trial so I’m now just getting my head around it all. Hopefully I can start living rather than hiding away.’
Speaking of the punishment Hawker is likely to receive, she continued: ‘Part of me is gutted he won’t go to prison because of all he put me through.
‘Ideally he should be sent to jail but he’s told so many lies about me and my family I just want people to know the truth and put an end to the rumours.
‘He’s never taken responsibility for what he did. He’s made it so much worse for me by going down the mental health route resulting in the two previous court cases having to be postponed.
‘I don’t accept his mental health issues should have resulted in him being totally cleared of responsibility for what he did. He didn’t have any issues at the start of the trial. But at the end of the day both he and his family know what he did and they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.’
The woman, who has had counselling for depression and post traumatic stress disorder, revealed she was so angry about Hawker’s horrific exploitation of her when she was a child that she confronted him in 2017.
‘Ray admitted to me what he did,’ she said. ‘I went to his house and knocked on his door and he just said “sorry it was a long time ago”. I had the conversation recorded but it couldn’t be used in court.’
The woman, who kept the painful memories to herself for 30 years until she built up the courage to tell the police, revealed her torment when confessing to her family. ‘I just wrote a letter, I couldn’t say the words,’ she said.
As a child she admitted she could not bring herself to tell anyone after Hawker had manipulated her into silence by insisting it was ‘our little secret’.
She said going through the judicial system had been daunting – admitting she was ‘not sure if it was worth it’ before deciding she had to exorcise ghosts from the past and prevent Hawker from committing further offences. ‘I didn’t want to go to the police but felt guilt over his granddaughter and the children next door,’ she revealed.
Finally taking the stand in court was a nerve-wracking experience – especially with the entire case resting on her evidence. Only Hawker’s wife Barbara appeared for the defence.
Despite questions over whether she was making the whole thing up under cross-examination from defence barrister Sarah Jones, the woman presented a compelling case under fierce interrogation.
‘It was the most horrendous thing in my life,’ she admitted. ‘To just be slated by the barrister and having someone say you made it up made me so angry. To have to listen to glowing references on Ray while I had nothing of a similar nature and was torn apart was tough to take.’
Despite her ordeal, a family member said the prosecuting barrister Mary Aspinall-Miles described the victim as ‘one of the strongest ladies she has come across’ and someone ‘who stuck to her guns and gave as good as she got’.
With the court case over and the woman vindicated, she added: ‘I hope it will give me some closure so I can move on with my life.’