This is the face of 71-year-old Barbara King, who has been jailed for 12 years for carrying out horrific sexual abuse against two girls who lived near her during the 1970s and 80s.
King and her husband Tommy, who died in 1992, carried out sex assaults on one girl from the age of seven, while another’s ordeal started when she was 12.
I can’t forgive them for what they did to me. They have ruined my life. I am glad I did eventually report the abuse I suffered even though it can be traumatic from start to finishVictim of Barbara and Tommy King
Her vile crimes only came to light decades later when the younger victim, who is now in her 40s, reported the offences to the police last year.
Neither of the victims knew each other but both gave detectives startling similar accounts of abuse they sufferd at the hands of the twisted couple, who lived in Bootle.
In victim personal statements read out at Liverpool Crown Court , they both spoke about the damaging effect that the Kings’ crimes had had on them and their relief at speaking out and seeing Barbara King jailed.
One said: “When the abuse happened I was young and did not know what was happening to me and to some degree although I did not like what was going on, I thought at the time it was ‘normal’. It was only when I got older I realised the full extent of what they had done to me.
“Barbara King has no idea how she and her husband have affected my life. I am so glad I had the courage and support to come forward and report the abuse and that I was believed.
“It will take time for me now it is over to start to rebuild my life and I intend to carry on with the support networks in order to have some closure on what has taken place.”
The second victim said: “Barbara and Tommy King have ruined my life from an early age. I began to self-harm as a result of becoming more aware of what had actually happened to me a few years earlier.
“It was when I became older I realised what had happened. I could not mention the abuse to anyone as I was scared and felt I would not be believed so I just out it to the back of my mind. All I have ever wanted is to block the thoughts of the abuse from my mind and be happy, be normal.
“I can’t forgive them for what they did to me. They have ruined my life. I am glad I did eventually report the abuse I suffered even though it can be traumatic from start to finish.
“I would encourage others in the same position to so do and I’m sorry I didn’t deal with it earlier. I hope now that I get some normality in my life. I will carry on with the support I have and I know eventually I will become at peace.”
The police officer who led the investigation said the Kings had offered their home as a sanctuary to vulnerable youngsters in a bid to gain their trust before subjecting them to sickening abuse.
DC Trish Lacey said: “The victims have shown immense courage in coming forward to tell their story and help the police and CPS bring a manipulative and coercive sexual offender to justice.
“They have been supported throughout by officers within the Unity team as well as other agencies who have always believed in their allegations, have always listened with sensitivity and compassion and put their interests first.
“The Kings, like other sexual offenders, took advantage of their victims’ vulnerabilities by pretending to be offering a sanctuary in their home and gaining their trust through kindness.
“It was only years later that they were able to comprehend the crimes that had been committed against them and the damaging effect these terrible experiences had had on them.
“I would like to urge all victims of sexual abuse out there, whether they were abused decades ago or days ago, to find the courage within themselves to make that difficult first step and tell someone.
“It doesn’t have to be the police, it can be one of the many support agencies who are there to help. The important this is tell someone and not suffer in silence any more.”