After almost 50 years of hell, Jackie Elmes, 53, from Oxted, Surrey has finally got justice.
I froze in terror as David Suttie, 20, leered over me. His cold, unblinking eyes were piercing through glasses as thick as milk-bottle bottoms.
‘Please don’t,’ I sobbed as he shoved his rough hands up my dress, inside my knickers.
But he ignored my quiet sobs as he molested me.
I was about 5 when it started – my earliest memories are of David Suttie dragging me upstairs.
Stripping me naked, prodding, poking me.
It was the late 1960s, and my parents were mates with Suttie’s sister.
They lived close by, so during school holidays Mum and Dad would send me over while they were working.
Usually, his sister looked after me, but sometimes Suttie babysat alone.
That’s when he’d pounce. Terrified, I’d be taken upstairs, into a bedroom, abused.
Suttie would make me touch him, too.
‘Don’t you dare tell anyone,’ he’d spit after. ‘Or I’ll kill the dog.’
I loved animals and Suttie’s family had a pet dog I adored.
Terrified that he’d hurt it, I kept my mouth shut. Plus, I’d no idea who to tell or what I’d say. I didn’t know anything about sex, or abuse, and didn’t know what Suttie was doing was wrong.
Still, I knew I hated it and that he petrified me.
‘I don’t want to go!’ I’d scream and cry whenever my parents dropped me off there.
But Mum and Dad thought I was being difficult, and I didn’t know how to tell them the truth.
Then, one day Suttie grabbed my hand, dragged me upstairs.
Only, this time, he stripped me, pulled out a tub of cream, and rubbed it on my private parts.
I lay on the bed, frozen in horror, confused and scared.
Then Suttie climbed on top of me and raped me.
Unimaginable pain tore through my body.
Tears of agony and horror poured down my cheeks, as the attack went on and on.
Suttie left me crying, bleeding.
But later, when my parents picked me up, they were none the wiser.
I spent the next few days in pain, horrified and crying myself to sleep every night.
Wondering what I’d done to deserve it
The abuse continued, his threats always the same.
‘I’ll kill the dog,’ he’d snarl.
I believed him – after all, if Suttie was capable of hurting me, what would stop him harming a dog?
Suttie raped me again, before his family moved away around 1970, when I was about 8.
The abuse stopped, and I got a different babysitter. But the psychological damage was done. I was just a child, but I was broken.
And David Suttie was still a family friend, so he’d sometimes pop round.
‘Stop being rude,’ Mum would scold when I refused to talk to him.
I began secretly blaming my parents for never realising what was going on.
I was a little girl who hated the world, and I became rebellious, acted up.
I suffered from night terrors until I was 15, and would wake up screaming and sobbing.
At 16, I moved out of Mum and Dad’s.
I got my own place in Hertfordshire, met a bloke and tried to move on.
At 21, in 1985, I fell pregnant, and had a baby girl.
Cradling her, I felt a rush of love, and fierce protectiveness.
How could anyone hurt a child? I thought to myself.
Sadly, my partner and I parted when our daughter was just 18 months old.
I was a struggling single mum, so I moved back to my parents.
I got a job, and my mum and dad helped to babysit.
Only, one day when my girl was 2, I came home to find them chatting in the driveway with a man…
David Suttie! And he’s holding my little girl!
My blood ran cold.
‘Get away from her!’ I screeched, exploding with rage.
My parents watched, shocked, as I screamed at him.
Suttie put my daughter down and fled.
I didn’t go into detail, but told my parents he’d touched me when I was a child, that I didn’t want my girl anywhere near him.
Mum and Dad were shocked but, in truth, they didn’t really know how to react.
So they agreed to keep Suttie away from my little girl, and it was never mentioned again.
I still didn’t go to the police – I thought too much time had passed, felt too nervous.
Shortly after, I got my own council house and my daughter started school. We were happy.
Only, one day as I was standing in my garden, I suddenly felt eyes on me. Glancing over to the house across the street, I froze.
A man was staring at me through thick, milk-bottle glasses.
It was him – my rapist is living opposite me.
‘No!’ I gasped.
Disgusted, I confronted Suttie, warned him to stay away.
‘Don’t ever touch my daughter,’ I snapped angrily at him.
But I couldn’t afford to move.
And I was still too afraid to report my abuser – to the council or to the police – worried I’d bring scandal to my family.
So, for the next decade, I was trapped, living opposite the monster who raped me as a child.
My own personal hell.
I warned my daughter to stay away, and never let her play out. But I was always on high alert, and a bundle of nerves.
In 1995, I had my son, although my relationship didn’t work out.
But it meant we needed a bigger house and the council eventually moved us to a place in a different area.
It was such a relief – finally, I was free from Suttie’s watchful eye.
Years passed as I tried to put the horror behind me.
But what I’d suffered as a child wasn’t something I could either forgive or forget.
Then, in October 2013, my mum died.
‘Maybe now’s the time,’ I said to my daughter, then 28.
She and my son, 18, both knew about my childhood and supported me.
So finally, in June 2014, aged 51, I plucked up the courage to go to the police.
Suttie was questioned. And, to my horror, two other victims came forward.
‘No!’ I sobbed.
He truly was evil.
After a long investigation, Suttie was charged.
He pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child, against me and two other victims.
In December 2016, David James Clarke Suttie, 70, went on trial at Guildford Crown Court.
The stress made my weight plummet and I had terrifying flashbacks. I accidentally ran into him outside the court, too – it left me in bits.
It took everything I had to give evidence in court, reliving the memories of my horrific childhood.
But I did it.
A few days later, an officer phoned with the verdict.
Guilty! I sobbed with relief.
David Suttie was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, plus one year on extended licence.
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed indefinitely. Plus he was put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
It seemed nothing compared to how long I’d suffered.
But the secret was out and the world finally knew that David Suttie was a monster.
Sadly, my dad died recently. I’m still suffering from depression, and have flashbacks of Suttie’s milk-bottle bottom glasses.
Still, after nearly 50 years, he’s finally where he belongs.
He stole my childhood, haunted the many years since. But, finally, I’m free of that monster.
Jackie urges anyone who’s suffered abuse, no matter how long ago it may have been, to report it.
‘It took nearly 50 years, but I got justice. It just shows it’s never too late,’ she says.
Contact the National Association for People Abused in Childhood on 0808 801 0331
Contact Victim Support on 0808 168 9111