June 2018

‘I didn’t dare tell my parents – he said they would go to jail’ – Mum tells of childhood torment

Dated: 11/10/2018 Vernon Platt, 89, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, who spent just ONE WEEK in prison after finally being brought to justice this year after abusing his young neighbour Jayne Mahgaghbow for almost three years in the 1970s when she was just seven-years-old. See story North News

A mum-of-five has bravely told how she was abused as a little girl in the hope of helping other victims come forward.

Jayne Mahgagahbow was warned by her abuser that if she told anyone about his sickening acts, her parents would go to jail.

Aged just eight, the innocent young girl was too afraid to tell anyone what her neighbour Vernon Platt was doing to her.

So the abuse continued until the manipulative paedophile finally moved away.

The shame of Platt’s actions stayed with Jayne for many years, affecting her relationships. She told Teesside Live it became the “thorn in her side”.

But after having children of her own, Jayne’s feelings turned to anger, and eventually she bravely decided to speak to police.

And last month, Platt, who is now 89, was finally held to account for his disgusting actions.

Platt, of Cold Bath Road in Harrogate, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault at Northallerton Magistrates’ Court earlier this month and was initially jailed for a year.

But at an appeal hearing at Teesside Crown Court, Judge Sean Morris reduced this to an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Jayne, 52, who lives in Thornaby, said she did not feel resentment about the sentence being reduced.

“I have had my day in court and he has been named and shamed,” she said.

“He spent a week in prison which must have been hard for a man of his age.

“Most of all it’s a relief.”

The abuse happened in the 1970s in the village of Hutton Rudby in North Yorkshire. Jayne remembers going to his house to play with his son.

“He was a neighbour, he lived a few doors down from me,” she said.

“I remember he had a cuckoo clock and he used to set it to 12 so it would go off and I remember I was fascinated by it.

“He would touch me while I was sitting on his knee. I was only eight years old and we didn’t have phones and things then, I was just really innocent.

“I didn’t dare tell my parents – he said if I told they would go to jail.”

When she first started having relationships, Jayne said it “brought it all back” and she struggled with intimacy for some time.

“I got over that in time but it has affected my life,” she said.

“It needled away at me for all those years, him living his life and getting away with it.

“For years every time I saw something on the news about people like Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris I would go to pick up the phone to tell police but would think I’m not going to be believed.

“I felt shame that I let him do it but I was eight years old. It’s been a thorn in my side; it’s always been there.”

Jayne, who works as a dinner lady and has five children, bravely decided to waive her right to anonymity which is granted to all victims of sexual abuse.

She hopes this will encourage other victims to stand up against their abusers.

“I have nothing to be ashamed about and I hope it might help somebody else make that decision to come forward,” she said.