A woman who was one of five children abused by “disgusting sexual predator” Alfred Patrick Beard has spoken out and encouraged other abuse victims to “not stay silent”.
Alfred Patrick Beard from Enler Gardens in Comber, was sentenced to more than eight years after pleading guilty to a total of 17 historic sex offences committed over a period from January 1977 to December 1984.
Speaking to Belfast Live, one of his victims said that the abuse she suffered at the hands of Beard had impacted her throughout her life and only managed to build-up the courage to report him to police in 2015, after she had made an attempt on her own life.
Read more: Co Down ex RUC Reservist jailed for catalogue of historic sex abuse against five children
She also praised the hardwork and dedication of the PSNI and its lead investigating officer in the case for bringing Beard to justice and encouraged others who may have suffered similar abuse to speak out and report it to the authorities.
Following Beard’s sentencing the woman said: “I am happy, relieved and tearful. It has been a very hard day but I am glad that I have finally seen justice and I hope that disgusting sexual predator rots in prison for what he has done.
“The abuse that I suffered has lasted with me my entire life. I became very withdrawn and still find it difficult to trust people because of everything that I had been through.
“It was only after I made an attempt on my own life in 2015 when I started to build-up the courage to speak out and report it, thanks to the tremendous support of the crash time at the hospital.
“Since then the past nine years have been a struggle while the investigation has been taking place, but I cannot thank the PSNI and the lead officer enough for their hardwork and dedication throughout it all.
“I would just like to take the opportunity to encourage others who have been victims of abuse to speak out and report it to the police. I know that it can be very difficult, but there are some brilliant officers who will look after you and help you see that justice is done.”
Beard carried out a catalouge of sexual abuse against five children over a period from January 1977 to December 1984.
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Judge Kerr revealed that after reading statements made by three victims, it was “absolutely clear …it has effected their lives in many ways”.
When arrested and questioned about the historic sexual abuse, Beard denied the complains made by the five victims. He maintained this stance until late last year, when he entered guilty pleas to 17 offences including multiple charges of indecent assault and gross indecency with or towards a child.
As he was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Gordon Kerr KC said: “This defendant was a clear predatory danger to any young girls who came into his orbit.”
As he imposed a jail term of eight years and four months, the Judge spoke of “the serious nature of the offending and the number of victims involved”.
In a statement issued subsequently by the PSNI they “acknowledged the sentence handed down to former RUC reserve officer Alfred Beard at Laganside Crown Court”.
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