March 2007

Lottery winner made me suicidal

A WOMAN who was raped and sexually abused by Gwent lottery winner David Dyas says the sick attacks turned her from a “sweet, innocent little girl” into a depressed and suicidal teenager.

Now one of two friends who was abused by the 52-year-old Newbridge paedophile hopes her example will encourage abused children to seek help.

“If it is happening to you tell someone,” the brave victim said.

“You can’t carry it round like I did for 15 years. And it might stop it happening to someone else. Just tell someone, don’t try to cope alone.”

Dyas, who “won millions” in 1998, is now facing a hefty sentence after a jury at Cardiff Crown Court found him guilty of five sex attacks and two rapes last week. He was cleared of one count of rape.

The woman, now in her twenties, was raped and repeatedly sexually abused by Dyas while she was under 14 in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I felt ashamed,” she says. “I didn’t understand what he was doing to me at first.

“But I knew it was wrong.”

On one occasion, he took the girl to a Gwent beauty spot and raped her, swearing her to secrecy.

“Afterwards he asked me if I was OK and gave me £2,” she said. “He was always nice after.”

When she was 13 the abuse stopped, but by then his victim had changed.

“My mum said I was a sweet innocent little girl at one point. But after I started smoking, drinking and got in with the wrong crowd. They thought I was just a problem child.”

At one point she even shaved off her hair, just a week after her mother had taken her to get it permed.

She said: “I don’t think I wanted to look like a pretty girl.”

The abuse, along with other problems, led to a despair so deep that at 14 she tried to kill herself by overdosing on paracetamol in a Gwent park.

“I’m not sure if I wanted to die or if it was just a cry for help,” she says.

She carried on as normal, even going to school.

But three days later she collapsed and was rushed to hospital, and was put on a drip. Luckily, she had not taken enough to do herself permanent damage.

Social services became involved. But she felt unable to confide in anyone, afraid of what they would think of her.

Soon after she left school and pushing the abuse to the back of her mind she tried to forget. She formed a loving relationship with her now ex-partner, who she says she “clung to”.

But when their daughter reached the age she had been during the abuse she began to suffer from vivid nightmares.

She said: “I was dreaming he was attacking her. That he was doing the things to her that he had done to me. And the dreams kept getting worse.”

The woman, now in her late 20s, would wake in the night screaming.

Her doctor prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets and told her to confide in someone she could trust, so she told her oldest childhood friend.

The woman said: “We went for a walk but when I said ‘I need to tell you something about David Dyas’ she just said ‘I know what you are going to say’.”

It emerged that when Dyas stopped abusing her he had moved on to her friend.

“I just went ballistic – I wanted to go and kill him. And I felt so guilty, that if I had told someone it wouldn’t have happened to her,” she said.

But it was knowing Dyas had abused her friend gave her the courage she needed to go to the police.

He was later jailed for 15 years for sexually abusing two girls and ordered to pay his defence costs of more than £6,000.

Dyas, of Brynheulog Road, Newbridge, who had been found guilty of two charges of rape and five of indecent assault, had been ordered to pay each victim £50,000 in compensation at the end of his trial. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £5,200.