March 2012

Cruel sex abuser attacked me on the day my mother died

A SEX attack victim, whose abuser has been jailed for nine years, has told how he targeted her on the day her mum died.

As Heather Binns’ dad and older brothers were called into hospital to be at the bedside of her gravely-ill mum, the youngster was sent to be looked after at the home of neighbour Raymond Baker of Etwall.

But Baker sexually assaulted Heather in a sickening incident that was to lead to months of abuse.

After she went back to her Findern home to be told by her tearful family that her mother had died, Heather could not even allow her father to comfort her, as she was too traumatised by what Baker had done.

Heather, now a 42-year-old mother of three, said: “My dad called me over to sit on his knee and I didn’t even want to do that.

“This man took all my grieving for my mum – every bit of it, because what he had done to me just kept coming into my head. I couldn’t think about anything else.

“And it was probably the day I needed my mum the most. I even started feeling angry at her for leaving me.”

Heather, who now lives in Willington, has agreed to waive her right to anonymity so she can tell her story after seeing Baker jailed for nine years.

The 66-year-old was found guilty of abusing her when she was 14 and 15, as well as four other girls, between 1981 and 1994, one as young as four.

Heather’s mother, Mary Lindsey, had collapsed at home a couple of days before she died and was taken into hospital.

On the morning of her death, her husband was called to go to the hospital immediately.

Heather said she had wanted to go but was told she must go to the home of her neighbours, Raymond and Beryl Baker.

It was while she was at their house and she happened to be alone in a hallway with Baker that he thrust himself against her and inappropriately touched her – sniggering at the time.

She said she froze and Baker only stopped because his wife called him.

Heather said that for a long time after that day she thought the assault and her mum’s death were her fault.

“I thought somebody was punishing me and I kept going over and over in my head what had I done wrong. I felt like I was to blame for everything.”

April 13, 1984, was not the only time that Baker sexually assaulted Heather.

During a trial at Derby Crown Court, she told a jury that after that day there were many times when she was walking past him and he would grab her inappropriately. Heather said she had told a woman, whom she knew, about the abuse but was told she was “a stupid little girl”.

She said that hearing at court what Baker’s other victims had gone through had “messed her up” a bit.

“Our statements were very similar and that scared me,” she said.

“He had the chance to plead guilty but he chose not to, which has made me and the others relive what he did to us.”

She said that as she had got older the abuse she suffered as a teenager had made her angry and had affected her relationships.

“I’ve been very wary of men and thought they were all the same. I have suffered for over 20 years and will always suffer for what he did to me.”

She said she wanted to speak out to tell other sexual abuse victims to come forward.

Mrs Binns said: “I want people out there to know that it doesn’t matter how long ago it happened, you can still do something about it.

“By taking Raymond Baker to court, we have taken another paedophile off the streets.”