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Calling for justice: How I fought back when my abuser walked free

Madeline McAndrews, who was sexually assaulted numerous times, has told ITV Calendar how she was not prepared to sit back and do nothing as her abuser walked free from court, having only received a suspended sentence.

Waiving her right to anonymity, Madeline, from Bragg in Lincolnshire, says she has come forward to encourage others to push for tougher penalties if they feel the courts have been too lenient.

She had been sexually assaulted by 75-year-old Peter Sipling numerous times during the year she worked for him at Heron Lodge Kennels, in Broughton.

Sipling walked free from Grimsby Crown Court with a two year suspended sentence, despite pleading guilty to a string of the 11 charges against him, spanning eight years.

Madeline stuggled to feel safe knowing her abuser was still free:

The hours of the tag he was given meant that he couldn’t leave his house until dinner, but he could be out from dinner to midnight, which I didn’t think was safe for someone convicted of a sexual crime.

I have really struggled to feel safe, and knowing that he was on the streets I didn’t feel any better. I just didn’t feel like justice had been done. I said to my dad I didn’t think it was fair, and I wished there was something I could do.

He suggested to tell the MP and it went from there.

I think, from the victims’ point of view, they are a lot happier now that it has gone from a suspended sentence to jail time

It helped them with the closure on this issue and it’s important that other victims of crime are aware that if they feel that a sentence is unduly lenient then there is a provision in the system to enable such cases to be referred again.

For Madeline, she feels she can now move on with her life, but is now encouraging others in her situation to fight if they feel they have been denied justice