March 2009

Mum of raped Wirral schoolgirl urges other victims to speak out

The mum of a 12-year-old girl raped by a family friend has urged other sex attack victims to come forward.

The Wirral mum spoke out after Jake Hughes, 19, was jailed for seven years for the assault on her then 11-year-old daughter.

The mum-of-two said: “I just want other people to know not to keep it to themselves – that’s the most important message.”

She described how her daughter, now 13, was “absolutely terrified” about giving evidence.

But she said: “I told her that she had done nothing wrong and to tell the truth.

“I’m very proud of her for making a stand.”

Despite being disappointed with the sentence, the woman, 45, told how seeing apprentice electrician Hughes, of Woodchurch Road, Prenton, locked-up had helped her daughter.

She said: “After the court case, when he had finally gone down, I’ve never seen her so happy.

“Looking at her, it was like having my little girl back again after so long. She was laughing and singing and even skipping.

“She still doesn’t like talking about it, unless she wants to, but the message is to speak out – it’s more damaging not to tell anyone.”

Liverpool crown court heard the schoolgirl’s family had been close friends with Hughes and his family for years.

But on April 4, last year, Hughes entered their Wirral home while the girl’s parents were at work and attacked her after finding her wearing a towel after getting out the shower.

Following the attack the girl refused to stay in the family home and went to live with relatives for about three months.

Her mum yesterday told how the family spent about £5,000 redecorating her bedroom and gradually encouraged the youngster to spend more time at home.

The victim’s mum added: “She’s been through hell and back.

“Whatever he got, my daughter has got a life sentence. We can’t erase that.”