Sexually abused by her father and cousin: victim speaks out after years of torment (From Times Series)
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'He said he was going to kill me': victim waives anonymity to reveal sexual abuse at hands of father Michael Lloyd and cousin John Tugwood from Barnet
Janet aged 19. The red mark on her neck was sustained during one of many attacks by her cousin and abuser John Tugwood.
She suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and cousin and says the horror and torment of the regular assaults has never left her.
But now, as one of her abusers is jailed for 15 years, Janet Peck has waived her anonymity to tell her story and encourage other women who have experienced similar abuse to come forward.
Janet, 46, bravely gave evidence at the trial of her older cousin John Tugwood in June but says she feels “cheated” after her father Michael Lloyd died before he could be brought to justice.
She was first touched inappropriately by her father as a toddler and by her cousin from the age of four or five.
What followed was years of systematic abuse until the age of 19 that has had a “devastating” impact on her life.
She said: “I knew from the beginning it was wrong but you are ashamed and you can’t talk to anyone. It only emerged years later that I was not the only one.
“It has ruined my life. I have had to have years of psychotherapy. You wake up some days and you don’t want to be there. Eventually things are better than they were but it never leaves you.”
"I hated going over there"
Tugwood, of Mayhill Road, High Barnet, was jailed for 15 years in June for the campaign of abuse against his younger cousin, as well as several other counts of indecent assault against other young victims.
Janet’s father Michael died from a suspected heart attack in a police cell on the verge of his prosecution and never faced trial
In a separate case to Janet’s earlier this month, Tugwood’s father Wilson, of Helen Close, East Finchley, was also jailed for two years for sexually assaulting one of the same young girls as his son.
Speaking about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her cousin, Janet, now 46, said: “It began when he was about eight years old. It was non-penetrative but he would always do things to me and I hated going over there.
“We would go over for family visits and he would make up a game. He would try everything with me except sex.
“I would go downstairs but the adults would all say ‘go on back upstairs and play’ – it was so scary.”
"I was kept there like a prisoner"
As she reached the age of 13, the consistent abuse from her drunk father relented. But her ordeal continued when she was reunited with her possessive and violent cousin in her late teens.
For several months when Janet was aged about 19, the pair lived at her grandmother’s house in Barfield Avenue, Whetstone.
Janet, who was engaged at the time to her boyfriend Ricky of four years, said: “I was kept there like a prisoner. On a daily basis I was beaten up and threatened.
“He cut me off from everyone - it was hard. I had to break it off with my fiancée without being able to explain why.
“On the last day it got really bad – I’d had a whole day of it. He got me over the table and strangled me. I went black and saw stars. He was calling me everything under the sun and eventually just screamed that I had better go or he was going to kill me.”
After finally escaping her cousin, Janet moved to the south east of England with fiancée Ricky, without whom she says she “probably wouldn’t be here”.
The pair married in 1990 and, following a phone call in April 2011 from DC John Ritsema at the Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation team, Janet agreed to come forward and give evidence against her father and cousin.
She said: “It is about having that strength to come forward and face it. When I found out he had been doing it to other people as well, it finally hit home. I was so angry that he had got away with it and I wished I had come forward before.”
Speaking about her father’s death in August last year, she added: “I feel like we were cheated. He never really came to justice. There was so much evidence for the prosecution they said there was no chance he would have got away with it – it was very frustrating.
“It has brought some sort of closure and it feels like I have stood up to face them. I used to be too scared but I’m not frightened of them now.”
"You have to try and be brave and stand up for yourself"
Janet, who has never had children, was forced to retire from running her own giftware shop on the coast in 2002 due to chronic arthritis.
She still suffers black outs, which doctors believe could have been caused by the stress and trauma of her experiences.
And following years of counselling and therapy, Janet has her own advice for any women or children going through the same thing as she did.
She said: “You have to try and be brave and stand up for yourself. It is not just for you – it is for all the other people this person could be abusing too.
“They have ruined people’s lives – why should they get away with it? It will always stay with you but it is far less upsetting knowing you have done something and stood your ground.”
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