A man who was sexually abused as a child has urged other young people not to suffer in silence after he watched his abuser admit his crimes in court today (Monday).
And Edward Dynes waived his right to anonymity and bravely spoke out as he hopes, by doing so, it might give others the strength and courage to do likewise.
He spoke to Armagh I after Paul Murphy admitted to historical allegations of gross indecency and indecent assault of a male under the age of 16.
The 55-year-old defendant has now been released on bail for the preparation of a report prior to his sentencing next month.
The court heard all of the offences – which occurred between October 15, 1978 and November 15, 1978 – related to one victim.
That child was Edward Dynes.
Today, the adult Edward agreed to speak out after watching his abuser admit to his crimes 40 years ago.
Edward, now living in Keady, spoke of the sense of relief he felt, which soon gave way to a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Sitting in a courtroom in Newry, the 47-year-old said the last thing he expected was a plea.
“I couldn’t believe it when he pleaded guilty,” Edward admitted. “I was told by the officer that nine times out 10 the abusers don’t plead guilty, so I was expecting a trial.”
Edward didn’t want to shy away from a face-to-face encounter with Murphy.
“As much as he hurt me I still wanted to stand there today and face him,” said Edward. “He had control over me for years but that’s all gone now.”
Reflecting on those dark days forty years ago, Edward spoke candidly about the horror he felt as a seven year old child.
“It was around Hallowe’en time and we were playing chase through the fields,” he recalled. “He (Murphy) was maybe 16 at the time. He asked me to come into his back garden and at that time it was all outside toilets in Darkley where I lived. He took me in there and that’s where it started.
“I hadn’t a clue what was happening. I knew it was wrong and that he was a lot older than me.
“I looked at him as an adult. I thought ‘this isn’t right’ but I was powerless – I froze – I didn’t know what to do.
“At the time I thought he was alright, he’d be looking after us but it wasn’t until I was interviewed by police years later that I realised how bad some of the things he did to me actually were.
“And after that I had a breakdown when I realised the full extent of it.
“I count myself as a strong person but that vulnerable child I once was, I was afraid to show that part of my life growing up.”
Those early days in Edward’s life had an understandably profound effect on the youngster, who in turn learned to protect himself.
“When I grew up in school I was always a bit of a scrapper; I did martial arts but I always said to myself afterwards that I would never let anyone hurt me again. I think it was because I was so embarrassed.
“But if by doing this I can help even one other person come forward, that may well have a knock-on effect for others to do the same, I will have achieved something.”
For the last five years Edward has been dealing directly with Nexus NI – a support network to help people who have been affected by sexual violence.
“Nexus have been unbelievable, I can’t say enough for them,” he said. “The help they gave me meant the world.
“I kept breaking down constantly and without them I don’t know where I would be today.
“They helped me through my darkest days, even when it all came to a head six months ago, after I took an overdose.
“For me it was all bubbling over and becoming too much to handle but that’s where the help of Nexus really helped. I cannot stress enough the help they gave and would recommend anyone, in my shoes, to reach out to them.”
Murphy was today granted bail until March 4, when he will return to court to learn his fate after the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
If you have been a victim of sexual violence please reach out to Nexus. For more details please visit this link https://nexusni.org/