Belfast Telegraph

Brave Martina's new chapter in life as rapist cousin caged

BY GEORGE JACKSON

A woman who was raped by her cousin several times a week over a four-year period when she was a child said she had destroyed all of her childhood photographs "because I could see the pain of the abuse in my eyes".

Martina Johnston (44), a mother-of-two, was speaking after Frankie McFadden, a 54-year-old taxi driver from the Shantallow area of Londonderry, was jailed for 11 years at the Crown Court in Derry for sexually abusing her over a 10-year period, starting in May 1975 when she was aged six.

McFadden, from Moyola Drive, who admitted raping and indecently assaulting his victim, also admitted threatening to kill her when she told him she was going to disclose his abuse.

"This chapter in my life has now been closed and hopefully I can open a new chapter," she said.

"I have no photographs of my childhood.

"I decided to do away with them because they were a constant reminder of my childhood abuse as I could see the pain and sadness in my eyes.

"I cannot remember the last time I cried. Hopefully I will be able to cry some time in the future."

She said she had decided to waive her right to anonymity to help other sex abuse victims to come forward.

"I did nothing to be ashamed of. I was and still am the victim.

"I know that going public can in some cases rip a family apart, but I wanted to expose my abuser in order to protect others," she said.

In his sentencing comments Judge Philip Babington said that a victim impact report stated that the abuse had a considerable impact on Ms Johnston.

"She is described as presenting with exceptionally complex psychopathology.

"She is on medication and it can only be hoped that in time counselling will assist her with the problems that she presently has arising from this childhood sexual abuse," he said.

Judge Babington said McFadden's abuse of his cousin had a number of aggravating matters including a breach of trust and the fact that the victim was so young.

"One can only hope that your conviction and your sentencing today will enable Martina to reach some sort of closure in relation to this matter," Judge Babington told McFadden.

When he's released from jail, McFadden will be on probation for a further two years.

He's also on the Sex Offenders Register for the rest of his life.

Judge Babington told McFadden that on his prison release, he had to agree to notification requirements.

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