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David Tweed’s stepdaughter rejects Jim Allister’s apology: ‘Damage is already done’

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TUV leader Jim Allister. Credit: Press Eye

TUV leader Jim Allister. Credit: Press Eye

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 7th December 2016 Former Ireland Rugby player and TUV Councillor Davy Tweed pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast. Mr Tweed attended the Court of Appeal where he was told he would not face a retrial over sex offences which he had earlier been convicted of. Mt Tweed was serving an eight year jail term when his conviction was quashed. See copy by Alan Erwin/Laganside Media. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 7th December 2016 Former Ireland Rugby player and TUV Councillor Davy Tweed pictured leaving the High Court in Belfast. Mr Tweed attended the Court of Appeal where he was told he would not face a retrial over sex offences which he had earlier been convicted of. Mt Tweed was serving an eight year jail term when his conviction was quashed. See copy by Alan Erwin/Laganside Media. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

Amanda Brown, David Tweed’s stepdaughter rejects Jim Allister’s apology: ‘Damage is already done’

Amanda Brown, David Tweed’s stepdaughter rejects Jim Allister’s apology: ‘Damage is already done’

Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown

David Tweed's grave

David Tweed's grave

David Tweed

David Tweed

Jim Allister

Jim Allister

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TUV leader Jim Allister. Credit: Press Eye

An apology from TUV leader Jim Allister after issuing public condolences to David Tweed after his death has not been accepted by Tweed’s stepdaughter.

"An apology at this stage isn't going to cut it at all because he has done quite a lot of damage with the words that he has already used,” said Amanda Brown, who was sexually abused by Tweed from the age of eight. 

"I don't feel it was an apology at all,” she told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme on Friday.

Tweed died in October following a motorcycle crash in Co Antrim.

The former TUV councillor’s daughters have since come forward to say they had been sexually and physically abused by their father for years.

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After his death, Mr Allister shared a message of condolence, stating his "sincere sympathy” to Tweed’s “grieving family and wide circle of friends" and also describing the ex-Ulster and Ireland rugby player as "larger than life".

Mr Allister was one of three politicians whom Ms Brown said "should have known better" than to issue public condolences, calling for them to them to reflect on their remarks.

The North Antrim MLA initially stood by his words, saying he was entitled to express condolences to those grieving family members. 

But in a later statement, he added: “Mr Tweed’s daughters are clearly hurting. I accept and am sorry that some of my comments, whether as reported or because they could have been better chosen, have added in any way to such hurt.”

"I believe that he's said what he believes is the right thing to say throughout," Ms Brown commented.

"It's not so much even me that he should be apologising to, it's every other victim out there."

In 2012, Davy Tweed was convicted on child sex abuse charges — quashed in 2016 after he served four years of an eight-year sentence.

He was subsequently expelled from the Orange Order and suspended, then replaced by the TUV, following his conviction. 

However, Ms Brown said she and her family members believe both organisations should have done more to separate themselves from the late 61-year-old. 

She said Orangemen, who gave Tweed a guard of honour at his funeral, “should have known he doesn’t deserve” it, noting the “disgust” and “insult” the decision to do so caused her family, and said she was “surprised” by it after he was removed following the initial court case.

She also said Mr Allister “infuriated” her as “he repeatedly, both on social media and whenever he was challenged, repeatedly referred to the [court] appeal and also noted why it “wasn’t raised sooner.”

Mr Allister’s end comment in his apology statement, which says, “I have always and continue to urge anyone with allegations of criminality to go to the police in a timely manner” also angered Ms Brown, who feels the unionist leader was using words to ‘victim blame’ her and her sisters.

"All of these people claim to know him. If they knew him, as they claim to have, they would have known about both the court cases so they know who and what he is," she continued.

She has also urged other victims of Tweed, of whom she believes there are many, to seek help.

"There have been eight, spoken up so far. I do believe there are more. It’s going to be difficult for them to speak out, but I’d still urge them to go to Nexus or Women’s Aid.

"We have lost one person to suicide as a result of it. I myself have made an attempt in my life. She didn’t get the help, and we lost her. It’s devastating. You can’t replace a person.”

Ms Brown was talking about one of Tweed’s victims, his niece, Gemma Louise. 

"Some of your own bad memories, you can block out to a certain degree, but you cannot replace a person. We should still be making memories and that is down to him and what he did.”

"None of us really dwell on the past,” she said in reference to the abuse she and her sisters suffered.

"We acknowledge and accept what has happened to us because it's part of our healing that we do that but we don't dwell on it, we don't sit in it.

"At some point in our lives each of us has. But through getting the right help, we've been able to process through that and look forward to creating new memories.

"All of us who have children, our main priority is making sure that our children are kept safe, allowing them to know that no matter what, we will believe them and we will listen to them."

Ms Brown said she was “divided” on considering whether Tweed’s rugby caps should be removed, but admits that “he earned those caps because of his performance on the pitch, not for who he was as a person”.

"Who and what he was on the pitch was very different to who and what he was at home.”

Asked about Ms Brown's comments, a spokesman for the TUV told the BBC: "We issued a statement last week and we've nothing further to add to it."

The TUV and Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland have been contacted by the Belfast Telegraph for further comment. 


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