‘Don’t suffer in silence’ - victim

Fred Ayton.
Fred Ayton.

The victim of a serial sex offender has urged other women who may have suffered similar abuse to report such incidents to the police.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, was raped and sexually assaulted by Douglas Frederick Ayton, when she was aged 14-years-old.

Ayton, of Donnybrewer Road, Eglinton, was jailed for ten years in June last year for sexually abusing three other girls during the 1980s.

Yesterday at Derry Crown Court the 64-year-old had two and a half years added to his sentence for sexually abusing his fourth victim.

He will now spend twelve and a half years in prison and a further two years on probation.

The fourth victim reported the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Ayton after reading about the previous case in the local Press.

“The publicity surrounding his first case is what pushed me to come forward,” said the victim.

“I read about it in the ‘Derry Journal’ and made my disclosure to police in the hope that I could help the other girls’ case, because I couldn’t live with the consequences if he had escaped punishment and walked free.

“Without the other victims coming forward, I would have taken this to my grave. It would never have come out.

“But thanks to all the help I have received from the police and Victim Support, I will not die thinking I was a dirty little girl.”

The woman continued: “If anyone else has suffered abuse at Ayton’s hands, or at the hands of anyone else, please come forward - you will be listened to.”

Ayton abused the victim when she was babysitting his children.

He was jailed for 10 years in June, 2015 for a ‘catalogue of abuse’ against three other young girls.

They were also babysitters for Ayton’s children and the abuse took place in his home; in his car and in a holiday home in Inch Island, Co Donegal.

Passing sentence yesterday at Derry Crown Court, Judge Gemma Loughran said the defendant had taken advantage of the victim.

Addressing the defendant, she said: “You breached the trust placed in you by the victim’s parents who were completely unaware of your deviancy and they allowed their daughter into your home thinking she would be safe there”.

The judge said the victim was a teenage girl who was taken advantage of by Ayton while babysitting.

She said Ayton had “indulged in disgraceful behaviour without regard to the consequences for the victim.”

The 64-year-old pleaded guilty to rape, indecent assault and gross indecency between January 1988 and December 1989.

Derry Crown Court heard the girl was 14 when she began baby-sitting Ayton’s children.

The abuse began with the defendant touching her chest.

This escalated and the girl was raped by Ayton on a rug in the living room of his home.

The abuse ended when the girl moved away and stopped babysitting.

Passing sentence, Judge Gemma Loughran said the defendant had pleaded guilty to a ‘catalogue of sexual offences’.

She added: “The most serious of these was rape. Rape is a gross violation of another person’s body and is a horrifying, degrading and humiliating experience for the victim.”

One of the victims from the previous case was in court for sentencing and both victims met each other face to face for the first time.

This victim, who was abused when she was 11-years-old, said that she was ‘glad to have the likes of him [Ayton] taken off the streets’.

The woman told the ‘Journal’ she still suffers as a result of the abuse she experienced and ‘constantly re-lives it’.

“Nobody sees what goes on behind closed doors, the effect it has had on me and the embarrassment it caused my family to know they let a paedophile into their lives.

“I still have nightmares and wake up screaming that he is there standing over me. Even the smell of certain things brings it all back. Some things just never leave you but you try as best as you can to get on with your life.”