The victim of a serial child abuser is urging others who have suffered like her to report crimes to the police.
The 35-year-old spoke out after Motherwell man John Hamilton (58) was jailed for nine years for sexually assaulting her and two other girls on numerous occasions over a five-year period.
She revealed that an article featuring Hamilton which appeared in the Motherwell Times was one factor in her decision to go to the police more than 20 years after he first abused her.
Hamilton, known as Hammy, of Ghillies Lane, Motherwell, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of assaulting the youngsters. They were aged 10 and 12 when it started, and one of them was raped.
The woman, who has three children and lives in Motherwell, was in court to see her attacker – a self-employed fencer – being sentenced and was happy with the jail stretch handed out.
She said: “It was hard to give evidence in court and I have been getting counselling since going to the police in March last year.
“However, I could not move on with my life with this on my mind. It was something that was always there.”
The woman said that, unknown to her, the mother of another victim had given police a statement about Hamilton many years ago, but because there was no other evidence he was not charged at that time.
A series of incidents last year, including the Times article featuring Hamilton, persuaded her to break her silence and the third victim also came forward.
The woman said: “In court Hamilton’s lawyer accused me of making up the story. That hurt but I had the strength to answer back.
“I was scared of seeing Hamilton in the street after he was charged, but now he’s in jail I’m not afraid any more and I can start to rebuild my life.
“Victim Support did a fantastic job of looking after us in court and I would urge other victims of abuse not to be scared and to report it. Otherwise you will never be able to move on in life as it will always be there.”