THE schoolgirl victim of the “pot-bellied rapist” was left needing tranquillisers as the horror of his attack 27 years ago “destroyed” her life.
In a haunting victim impact statement, she said the rape as she made her way home from school not only robbed her of her childhood but had affected her family life and relationships.
“Since that day, every single day my thoughts keep being brought back to what that man did to me” she said. “I have spent the majority of my life being prescribed anti-depressant medication and at one time my mood level was so low I made a genuine attempt to end my own life.”
She said she was constantly in fear knowing her assailant in Hull was still out there.
“He stole my childhood. After my attack I had to keep the lights on I was so scared of the dark even though the incident happened in day time.
“I could not sleep, I would not sleep until I could no longer stay awake. I would black out and this would then trigger a nightmare that was described as being similar to a fit.
“I would fight and scream and thrash about as if this attack was happening again. It took up to three people to restrain me and calm me down,” she said in the statement read to Hull Crown Court yesterday.
“After these nightmares that is when I was prescribed tranquillisers. I was unable to be left alone in the quiet, my parents had to make a noise to reassure me someone was with me.”
She said her whole family was affected. “We could no longer live in the house we did and I had to change my school it was so close to the attack, where it happened.”
Her mother was constantly nervous and overprotective of her. “I was unable to leave the house alone. Every unknown male of the relevant age made me anxious, I was worried if that man had been may attacker.
“As I grew older I found it difficult, the mental scars were still there. In my adult life I found it hard to trust the partners I have had.
“I am overprotective of my own children. Even to this day I cannot walk the street near a stranger.”
She said she wanted to be in court to see him finally sentenced but added: ”He’ll never suffer as much as I am. No court can take as much from him as he took from me.”
Following the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Dena Fleming, head of Humberside Police’s major incident team, said Acey’s victim felt better knowing he was behind bars “it gives her some hope for the future.”
Responsible for setting up Operation Fox which carries out cold case reviews, she said it had been one of the first cases reviewed, adding “it has taken two years but we have caught the man responsible.”
The breakthrough came after it was established that forensic scientists had kept samples from the 1984 attack and new techniques would enable DNA to be extracted. But it was then compared against the national DNA database without success.
Acey had committed previous offences of dishonesty and was probably on bail for robbery at the time of the rape, but it was long before such a database.
Officers extended their search to those suspected at the time, but again there was no match.
“But I was sure whoever was responsible must be from that area to know the track involved,” Det Supt Fleming said.
Intelligence led to a family in the area and after a close familial link, Acey was approached and agreed to give his DNA. It was a match.
Humberside does not have a separate cold case team. Officers from major inquiries do such investigation when they can.