The victim of horrific, violent sexual abuse has waived her right to anonymity in the hope that others will see that they do not have to suffer the same kind of treatment.
Laura Forrest said that she wanted media outlets to be able to name her abuser - 44-year-old Rodney Joseph Campbell, from Sperrin Road in Limavady.
Campbell was jailed for 12 years for sexually and physically abusing the girl. She was just 15 when the abuse began and Derry Crown Court heard she was a ‘vulnerable’ girl who had been in the care system.
Her abuse at the hands of Campbell ended only in 2009 when she managed to escape, following a suicide attempt that almost claimed her life.
The details of the court case - many too shocking to report - revealed that the man had sexually assaulted her with a rolling pin and the handle of a hammer.
Passing sentence earlier this month, Recorder of Derry Judge Philip Babington said Campbell had treated the girl “as his own personal plaything and subjected her to gratuitous violence of the very worst type”. He said that the victim was “totally under the control of the defendant and indeed lived in fear of him. She was regularly abused, humiliated and beaten”.
Laura Forrest’s solicitor, Paddy McGurk, told sentencing Judge Babington that his client had instructed him to apply for the anonymity order to be lifted, saying that she realised the order was put in place for her own protection, but she now felt she no longer needed the protection given to her by the order.
Now aged in her early twenties, Laura Forrest explained her decision: “Some people weren’t sure if I should have done this (waiving her right to anonymity) but I wanted to show other girls out there who might be suffering in the same way as me that they don’t need to put up with it. They can go through the court case and make it out the other side. I actually don’t care all that much about people knowing - I wanted to get him named.
“This is helping me to get by. I do feel that I am right to do talk about it. The court case was difficult - I’ve been drinking a lot in the lead up to it. I just kept drinking but I’m on the other side of that now and I want people to know that it can be done.
“I want to be able to show other people that it is possible to come out the other side of it and get on with your life.”
It was revealed that Campbell would physically assault his victim by punching her, kicking her and stubbing cigarettes out on her body. He would also strangle her, make her black out and lose consciousness.
“I wanted him to be named”, that’s why I did this. People who commit other crimes are named and I wanted him to be named.”
Laura has since moved away from Limavady because of her ordeal. “There was nothing there for me anymore”, she said.