August 2018

Sexual abuse survivor tells how he stood up to childhood tormentor as molester locked up

A sexual abuse survivor has told how he chose to stand up to his childhood tormentor and speak out rather than take his own life.

He was molested as a child by former DJ Kenneth Beckett, but saw his abuser convicted and punished for his crimes more than 20 years on.

Beckett, 50, was found guilty of molesting and trying to have sex with the boy in the 1990s, after denying all wrongdoing in a trial.

It took just under one-and-a-half hours for a jury to reach unanimous guilty verdicts on all eight charges he faced at Teesside Crown Court.

The victim of the sexual offences stepped into the witness box to read out a moving and powerful statement about the impact they had on him.

He said his life had been “turned upside down” and his childhood ruined by Beckett’s actions, which left him unable to trust people and affecting his work and loved ones.

“My ordeal affected my mental health. To this very day I suffer flashbacks and panic attacks,” he added, facing Beckett across a courtroom.

“All this came to a head when one day I had a choice to make.

“First I could take my own life, or I could stand up to Beckett. It’s obvious what choice I made.

“This whole process has been a living nightmare from start to finish. Finally I have justice. I cannot thank my family and friends enough.

“I had hoped Beckett would take responsibility for his actions and not put me through a trial, but that wasn’t to be.

“I now hope Beckett will reflect and seek the help he clearly needs.”

He thanked the police and Teesside charity Arch North East, which offers support and counselling to those affected by sexual abuse.

Beckett, of Marton Road, Middlesbrough, shook his head in the dock as he was convicted of six charges of indecent assault – one of which would now be classed as rape – and two other serious sexual offences.

Beckett was a young man when he abused the underage boy who was several years younger than him.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said: “To him you were glamorous, a DJ. You took advantage of his naivety.”

She said Beckett exposed himself to the boy, building up to kissing him, touching him and trying to have sex with him.

“He felt unable to tell anyone what was happening,” the judge said.

“You never said anything to persuade him not to tell, but as time went by, with nothing being said by him, you must have felt safe.

“He was a minor. Offences like this have deep and lasting effects.

“I can only hope that he can now take some reassurance from the verdicts of the jury in this case.”

Beckett was jailed for nine years and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.