July 2017

Mum abused by her paedo stepdad from the age of FOUR 

A woman abused from the age of four by her sick stepdad has recalled the harrowing moment he announced he wanted her to have his baby – when she was just 12 years old.

Brave Janet Sutherland, who has waived her right to anonymity, was preyed on repeatedly as a child by Laurence Galloway, who claimed it was “a game that daddies played”.

The 35-year-old from Kelso, Scotland, admitted she was too terrified to tell a soul about the abuse, until she eventually confided in a friend who told her parents.

Galloway was convicted of rape and jailed in March 1997 at Edinburgh High Court for 15 years, finally freeing Janet of her nightmare.

The full-time mum said: “I was so young. At first he would touch me under the blanket.

“I had no idea what was going on, he just said it was a game that daddies played.

“Laurence was the father I always wanted. He doted on me and always defended me.

“But it wasn’t long before I grew afraid of the Jekyll and Hyde monster he became at night.”

As Janet got older she began to realise what Galloway was doing was very wrong.

She admitted: “I was living in a nightmare but Laurence would always say no one would believe me.

“My only release from Laurence’s attention was my best friend Paul Douglas.

“We started hanging out when I was 10. Paul would pick me up and take me to the beach.

“Laurence never followed me there. He was intensely jealous. I think he thought we were in some kind of sick relationship.

“He would thrust his hands down my pants and check I hadn’t had sex with Paul. I was only 10, I didn’t even really know what sex was.”

When Laurence confessed his most sinister desire – that he wanted her to have his baby – Janet was horrified.

“I was just a child myself,” she said.

“I had no idea about contraception or even how you got pregnant. I didn’t want a baby with anyone, least of all Laurence.

“All I could do was pray it wouldn’t happen.”

Luckily she never conceived – but her stepdad’s sick abuse continued for a further two years until Janet snapped.

“I couldn’t hold in my secret anymore and I blurted it out to a friend, who told her parents,” she explained.

“When Laurence was jailed I cried so much. The nightmare was finally over.”

Throughout her ordeal, Janet and Paul, now 38 and a full-time carer, had grown apart – with Paul never discovering her harrowing secret.

Janet said: “I never told Paul about my abuse, I didn’t want him to see me differently.

“I just enjoyed being a normal child.

“Paul and I had grown apart before the trial, he was older than me and had started working, and I was dealing with a lot.

“I always thought of popping round to say hello but the time never seemed right.”

Though she moved away from her hometown soon after Galloway was jailed, Paul was never far from Janet’s thoughts.

She said: “My mind would always turn back to Paul and our visits to the seaside.

“They were the only happy memories I had of my childhood, the only place I felt truly free and safe.

“When I moved back to Kelso in 2014 I couldn’t stop thinking about him. So I decided to get in touch and tracked him down on Facebook.

“I thought he would have forgotten who I was but he instantly remembered me. I was thrilled when we arranged to meet.

“From the moment we met I could tell there was still a spark between us.

“I knew I had to tell Paul about Laurence. He was so upset and kept saying he would have taken me away.

“He had nothing to be sorry for. He saved me. I lived for the days we spent at the beach.

“Paul was my saviour but he didn’t even know it.”

After reuniting Janet and Paul quickly became a couple and are now engaged to be married after Paul proposed in January 2015.

Janet said: “Paul got down on one knee and asked me to marry him on the very beach where we’d shared our first kiss at just 10 years old. It was so romantic.

“I’m moving on from the sick abuse Laurence put me through. With Paul by my side, I’m determined to make new happy memories – finally free of the depraved monster who stole my childhood.”