Belfast Telegraph

Abuse by rugby star in childhood wrecked my life, woman tells court

By Chris Kilpatrick

A woman who claims she was sexually abused as a child by a former Ireland rugby international has told a court her life spiralled into depression as a result.

David Tweed, who also played for Ulster, sat with his arms folded in the dock at Antrim Crown Court as his alleged victim spoke of the emotional turmoil she has endured in the years since.

Tweed — who currently sits on Ballymena Borough Council as a member of the TUV — is on trial for a total of 14 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.

The 53-year-old is accused of abusing two young girls — both now adults — over a nine-year period.

The jury on Wednesday heard from one of the alleged victims who said she had not confided in anyone about the attacks she claims Tweed carried out as she had tried to “block them out”. Tweed’s barrister asked her if the alleged assaults left her with “clear” and “graphic” memories.

“Yes,” replied the witness, sobbing.

“Those memories have never left you?” asked the barrister.

“No,” she replied. “I know the stress I have been through.”

Tweed’s barrister put it to the witness that when initially asked by a social worker in 2006 whether she had ever been the victim of a sexual assault, she denied it.

“I tried to convince myself it would go away,” she replied. “Why would I want to rake that up?”

The woman said she started to have flashbacks of incidents of sexual assault at the hands of Tweed.

She said she began to take notes on what she could remember.

“I was nearly going out of my mind,” she said.

Tweed’s barrister asked if anyone close to the woman had ever asked if anything was bothering her, or if she was troubled by anything due to any possible irregular behaviour at the time of the alleged incidents.

She replied: “I cried, myself, with no one else around. I suffered from depression and got counselling and that, and I still find it hard.”

She was asked if she confided in counsellors about the alleged abuse.

“No, I didn’t want to talk about it,” she said. The woman said she “eventually” told a counsellor she had been sexually abused as a child.

She said she went to a solicitor on one occasion, to whom she spoke about the abuse.

The barrister asked the woman why she finally decided to present a written statement dated June 1, 2009 — 10 days after Tweed was acquitted of a series of separate child abuse charges.

“I was writing about what happened me,” she replied.

The barrister put it to the witness that in 2009 she told a social worker she was “unsure” about what happened to her, yet said she had been making notes from her recollections from mid-2007.

The woman replied: “I can’t remember what I said and to who.”

Tweed’s address was given as Clonavan Terrace, Ballymena.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph