PSNI unit set up to investigate David Sullivan’s crimes and paedo ring he was involved in
A WOMAN who was the first victim of Northern Ireland’s most prolific paedophile has urged other survivors to come forward and not suffer in silence.
Susie Johnston was sexually assaulted by David Sullivan in the early 1960s – almost two decades before reports about his depraved crimes started to emerge.
Now aged 69 and living in Canada, she is convinced that the predator, who is suspected of abusing more than 100 children, has dozens of other unaccounted for victims.
Sullivan went missing from his Fermanagh home in 1998 and two years later the murdered 51-year-old’s decapitated body was pulled from a bog in Belcoo.
“Nothing can be done for me because he is dead,” Susie told Sunday Life. “But I made a statement to police several years ago because I wanted it documented that he didn’t start abusing children in the 1980s, he started way back in the early 1960s with me.
“The question is what went on in that period in-between of almost 20 years? That’s why I am going public because there has to be many more people who he abused. There has to be many, many more who he has ruined.”
The PSNI has set-up a special unit to investigate the systematic abuse of children by Sullivan and a powerful paedophile ring to which he has been linked. Several arrests have been made, but charges have yet to be brought.
One of Sullivan’s victims, convicted child rapist Leo Hoad who was arrested on suspicion of his killing before being released without charge, says police told him 400 kids had been abused by the gang.
The murdered pervert had access to dozens of children through his jobs as a scout leader and school bus driver in Enniskillen.
Sullivan was was in his mid-teens when he first started to abuse Susie Johnston whose family lived next door to his.
“George Sullivan, David’s father, was the headmaster of the Model School in Enniskillen, where my dad Ronnie was vice-principal,” explained Susie. “We lived in the Model School House. The Sullivans were on one side and we were on the other.”
Susie believes she was nine-years-old when David Sullivan first targeted her, adding: “I think I was one of Sullivan’s first victims, if not his first victim. I think he was starting on his depraved journey at that stage. His history shows he preferred little boys, I was just convenient because I was next door.”
The abuse ended when Sullivan’s mother Florence found him in her bed with Susie. But the matter was hushed-up to avoid a scandal.
“That’s when I lost my innocence, and the dark cloud came over and I knew he had been doing something wrong,” recalled Susie.
“Nothing was done about me. It’s always in the back of my mind. Trust has been removed, I don’t trust anyone any more.”
Susie moved to Canada in 1977 aged 24, married and had two children on her own. She returned frequently to Fermanagh on holiday where she again encountered her abuser David Sullivan.
She recalled: “I remember one time my son was a toddler and David gave him a little toy car. As soon as I left the house with my son I took the car and threw it in the garbage. It was disgusting, his whole presence made me sick.”
Susie said she was not surprised to learn David Sullivan had been murdered, believing his killer to be one of the multitude of boys he sexually abused.
Many of his victims were rendered unconscious after being plied with alcohol and drugs, awakening to find they had been raped.
Several prominent figures from the Fermanagh area have been linked to the Sullivan paedophile ring with the PSNI encouraging anyone who suffered to come forward.