Portslade "sex abuse victim" denied justice after accused father dies day he was due in court (From The Argus)
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Portslade "sex abuse victim" denied justice after accused father dies day he was due in court
A sex abuse victim was denied justice when her abuser – her own father – was found dead just minutes from her front door on the day he was due to appear in court.
Now Jill Lennon, who has chosen to waive her anonymity, has branded her father, former Brighton and Hove bus driver David Patrick Lennon, known as Pat, a “coward”.
Lennon, charged with three sex counts and two neglect counts, was discovered drowned in Lady Bee Marina, Southwick, on June 5 at 5.40pm.
An inquest earlier this month in Worthing recorded an open verdict as the coroner could not say the 70-year-old, of Foredown Road, Portslade, intended to take his own life.
It has since emerged Lennon, who had lived in Sussex for more than 30 years, was facing criminal counts in his native Northern Ireland.
Speaking exclusively to The Argus, Miss Lennon, 49, said: “I forgive him – because he was sick. I have to forgive him to move on.
“But his death ripped my world apart. I was devastated.
“I had been to the police, I had got that far, and that was ripped that away from me.”
She revealed how she was first abused at the age of five when she lived in Northern Ireland. The abuse continued when the family moved to Sussex.
As she was tucked up in bed, he sneaked in and molested her – and carried on for many more years.
A spokeswoman for the Northern Irish court service confirmed five counts – four related to his daughter – were withdrawn on June 12.
The spokeswoman said Lennon was charged with causing or procuring cruelty to a child between January 1, 1968, and December 31, 1981.
During the same period he was charged with gross indecency, indecent assault and causing or procuring child cruelty.
He was charged with making indecent photos between January 1, 1978 and December 31, 1981.
Miss Lennon finally built up the courage to go to Sussex Police in October – after years of battling drink problems, which she said stemmed from her traumatic past.
This was two days before the Jimmy Savile story broke.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) took on the case and charges were brought, with pensioner Lennon set to fly to Northern Ireland to appear before the courts.
Miss Lennon, of Fishersgate, later gave birth to a daughter. While she was delighted when she married and had a child - it brought back hidden traumas from her childhood.
She said: “I had her and I loved her immediately, so much.
“But I also started suffering flash backs. I looked at my baby and I didn’t trust anybody with my child.
“I ended up drinking a lot. I had suppressed so much and it affected my life.
“When I started to sober up, that is when I went to the police. I had found my strength.
“It affected my life but I won’t let it anymore.
“The reason I am talking about this is because I need people to know going to the police is not the worst thing – the abuse is the worst thing.
“It was not as bad as I thought it would be and it was not as bad as the abuse.
“People need to talk, so that their lives are not ruined forever by the abuse.”
Miss Lennon, who is writing a book about her experiences called The Beginning of the End, praised Sussex Police for how they listened to her when she finally reported the offences in October 2012.
“They got it right,” she said. “They made me feel believed.”
Miss Lennon is setting up a charity called Guardian Angels, which aims to support people considering reporting or who have reported historic abuse to the police.
Visit the website at g-angels.com.
If you are a victim of abuse call Sussex Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
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