September 2017: Now released and back living in Longbenton
Justice for Washington child rape victim 30 years after attack
Raped at the age of 10, a victim has suffered in silence for more than 30 years, carrying a secret she feared would rip her family apart.
The attack, which happened as Raymond Daglish babysat his young victim on Hallowe’en night in 1979, destroyed the girl’s childhood, and left her with pain, depression and shame.
But today the mum-of-one’s life has started over again, at the age of 44, after her abuser was finally sent to jail.
After seeing Daglish, 52, convicted by a jury and sent to prison for eight years, She has bravely decided to tell of her nightmare and fight for justice.
She said: “I feel like this is a whole new chapter of my life. I feel vindicated – 12 complete strangers believed what I was saying and now everybody knows what he is. I can’t believe it’s finally over. It feels like a dream.”
Daglish was just 18 years old when he attacked her at her home in East Howdon, Wallsend, North Tyneside.
The teen had been trusted to babysit her but once her mum was out the house he subjected her to a humiliating and degrading attack.
At the time she told no one. Determined to get as far away from her attacker as possible, the school girl begged to be allowed to leave the North East to live with her father, who was in the army.
“I didn’t tell anybody because I was too worried about the effect it would have on the family,” she said.
“They were all I had. I just wanted to get away. So I used my mam as an excuse and wrote to my dad saying I didn’t want to live with her.”
But no matter how much distance she put between herself and Daglish, she continued to be haunted by the attack.
“As soon as I see the Hallowe’en stuff coming out in the shops it just brings it all back,” she said.
“Then at the age of 14 I started to drink a lot. I went off the rails and was out of control.”
In 1987 Rachel met her husband. With his love and support she was finally able to open up about what had happened to her as a child.
“Things started to fall into place when I met my husband,” she said. “He was a real calming influence.”
The victim, who now lives in Washington, told her husband and her stepmother about the rape, and began to have counselling. Knowing what the truth would do to members of her close family, Rachel still felt unable to report it. But as she got older, and became a mother herself, she felt the time was right to seek justice. In 2012 Rachel’s grandmother passed away and shortly afterwards she called the police.
“I just suddenly felt like I was free,” she said. “I realised there wasn’t anything else holding me back. I waited until after the funeral, then one night I just called the police. Once I had made the decision I just had to do it straight away,”
Daglish, of Kingfisher Road, Longbenton, North Tyneside, was arrested and almost a year later he was charged with sexual assault of a child and rape.
When he pleaded not guilty, the victim, who now suffers from ME and needs a wheelchair, realised she would have to relive her ordeal in a courtroom.
But as Daglish’s trial, at Newcastle Crown Court grew closer, she declined the option of giving evidence behind a screen.
“I decided I wanted to face him,” she said. “I didn’t want to play the victim any more.”
Last Monday the jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted Daglish of indecent assault and rape. Jailing him for three years for the assault and eight for rape, Judge Penny Moreland said: “Your behaviour has caused immeasurable distress to all those close to you and to the victim.”