September 2016

‘My dad stole my life after taking my virginity at the age of 11’


A woman horrifically abused by her own dad who took her virginity at just 11 years old has bravely spoken out about how he stole her life from her.

Karen Lockhart was exposed to an horrendous ordeal for several years by her father Albert Starkie.

She kept the shocking abuse hidden for decades for fear of hurting her mother – but after 45 years, with the encouragement of her daughter and friends, she told police everything.

Speaking after waiving her right to anonymity, Karen spoke about the horrific assaults she endured over five years, from when she was seven up until 11 years old.

These included making her carry out sex acts on him at Tatton cinema at the age of nine, him sexually assaulting her when she was ten, and then having sex with her, taking her virginity, when she was just 11.

Karen, now 57, of Wythenshawe, said Starkie separated from her mother when she was around ten but incidents happened at her home as well as at his house, also in Wythenshawe.

She said her life had been ‘stolen’ at the hands of her own father’s abuse.

Karen said: “At the time I thought all dads did that but as I got older I realised what he was doing was wrong. But he told me it was our secret and that if I told anyone I and he would be in trouble so I just kept quiet about it.”

The abuse stopped when she was 11 – and since then she tried to have a ‘normal’ relationship with her father – but said she was indifferent to him. But they still celebrated birthdays and Christmas together.

She said: “I would get him really ordinary cards, nothing really gushy. It was always ‘best wishes’.”

But something changed when she finally told a friend about what happened.

She said: “I feel like my life has been stolen from me.

“How could he do those things to his own daughter? He was supposed to love and cherish me, not take advantage of me. Of a seven year old child.”

She described how she suffered with self hatred and bulimia for many years as a result of the abuse she suffered.

“It has affected me really badly. I have had mental health issues and low self esteem. I also gave myself freely to men because that’s how I thought you showed love.”

But she said: “I have thought of the abuse every single day of my life. I tried to have a father daughter relationship after the abuse stopped. I felt indifferent to him.

“But now I have spoken about what he did, I hate him. I hate what he has done to me.

“Even now when I see something on television with a dad and daughter with the dad taking care and being protective over her, it hurts because I never had that, and he never did that for me. He never treated me like a little princess, or a special girl, only when he was abusing me.

“He has lived in Wythenshawe all of his life and people who know him will say he’s such a nice man but when they find out his sordid little secret they will think differently of him. They will know the man I have known since I was seven years old.”

Starkie, 80, of Denville Crescent, Wythenshawe, pleaded guilty earlier this year to indecent assault to a girl under 14, indecency with a child under 14 and sexual intercourse with a child under 13.

Prosecuting, Jeremy Lasker, of the Crown Square case being heard at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, said: “The nature and gravity of the defendant’s sexual behaviour towards his own daughter increased as she became older and the evidence suggests [now confirmed by the defendants plea to count 6 ] that Karen lost her virginity to her father, when she was just 11-years-old.

“Albert Starkie involved his daughter Karen in all manner of sexualised behaviour and as she got older it seems plain that the defendant regarded her as a substitute sexual partner as and when he felt so inclined to indulge his sexual appetite.”

Starkie, who was in a wheelchair, sat emotionless in the dock throughout the hearing.

He looked his daughter in the eye she bravely read out her witness statement.

He was remanded in custody for sentence on Friday.

Judge Recorder Tony Cross said the sentencing guidelines were complex and time was needed to ensure he was given the correct sentence.