June 2007

Abuse stepfather finally jailed

A woman who was raped and sexually assaulted as a child by her stepfather has welcomed his 12-year jail sentence.

Toni Finn, 22, said it took more than 15 years to feel “strong enough” to report Paul Dyer to police.

Dyer, 42, from Cross Keys, near Newport, was found guilty of rape, 13 counts of indecent assault and three of gross indecency.

Ms Finn, who was abused between the ages of five and 14, encouraged other sex abuse victims to come forward.

The court heard how Dyer met Ms Finn’s mother and moved into the family home in Cross Keys when Ms Finn was a toddler .

You are so scared of your own dad when he should be protecting you

Ms Finn was five when Dyer first abused her after showing her a pornographic film.

Dyer, who Ms Finn believed was her biological father until the age of 12, continued the attacks until his victim was 14.

He was eventually brought to trial after Ms Finn told her mother about the abuse in 2006.

Dyer was convicted in his second trial. In the first court case, Ms Finn gave evidence via a video link but the jury failed to reach a verdict.

In the second trial, she went into the witness box.

Jailing Dyer, Judge David Morris called the abuse “perverted”.

He said: “You married her mother and accepted her as if she was a child of your own.

Paul Dyer was jailed for 12 years following a trial

“You were in a position of trust towards her and you broke that trust in the worst way possible.”

Dyer’s barrister, Michael Mather-Lees, said his client “feels deep shame and he feels sick at what he did”.

But Ms Finn, who waived her anonymity as a sex attack victim following the trial, said she believed the trial would prevent other girls in her family from being abused by Dyer.

She said: “I know some people who are abused feel they are at fault but they aren’t and they have nothing to be ashamed of.

“I’m glad because while he’s in prison he won’t be able to do this to anybody else.

“I feel so much better after I’ve spoken about it because I know I’ve saved my daughter and I know I’ve saved my nieces.”

‘Keep fighting’

Ms Finn said she wanted to encourage other victims of sex assaults to come forward.

She added: “At the time I felt very unsafe. I hated being alone with him, I hated going to bed because that was the time usually he would do stuff to me.

“I used to feel sick – a feeling you can’t describe because you are so scared of your own dad when he should be protecting you.

“It took a long time for me to tell anyone. I did not think anyone would believe me because he always said they wouldn’t.

“I would tell people in my position to never be scared to speak out. Never give up and keep fighting.

“It’s been tough but I am a stronger person now. I have not let it ruin my life.”