brave survivor | 

Rugby star David Tweed's daughter, Lorraine, writes about how her childhood was 'hell'

'The Davy Tweed I knew abused me sexually, emotionally and physically as a child. He put me through hell.'

Lorraine Tweed, the daughter of paedophile and former Irish Rugby player Davy Tweed

Lorraine Tweed

Hearing of the passing of Davy Tweed stirred up a lot of old memories for me – memories and experiences which have haunted me my entire life.

It triggered old emotions and fears. I read comments of how he would be missed. How he was a gentleman and such a great man, a man with a great heart, larger than life. I only wish those were my memories and experiences of him.

The Davy Tweed I knew abused me sexually, emotionally and physically as a child. He put me through hell.

I grew up thinking that it was just me. He made me believe there was something wrong with me and this was my punishment.

He’d call me names – fat, ugly, stupid – to make me feel bad about myself. He’d shout these names at me. And boy when he shouted, you’d hear him.

He’d terrify me to a point where when I’d scream no noise would come out.

Davy Tweed Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

He’d blame me for what was happening and threaten the life of my family if I spoke out about it.

He was a violent bully behind closed doors. Some have experienced his bully tactics outside of the house too. Be it on the pitch, in pubs and while on his ‘political’ campaign.

Sure he was great when you were on the same side as him. But when you weren’t…well, that was something else.

It surprises me that people disbelieve the type of person he was when he displayed some of these aggressive behaviours, but it suits them when they were fighting with him.

The sexual abuse was something that he hid so well. We all did.

We grew up not knowing each of us had been abused. Each of us believed we were the only ones suffering.

We kept secrets out of fear. We were keeping secrets to protect each other, while unwittingly enabling him to continue to abuse each of us.

When he was convicted, I thought it was over for all of his victims. I thought this was a win for us.

It seemed like an opportunity for us to heal and move forward with our lives. Even though he was convicted, I still had to live with the trauma, something I will carry for the rest of my life.

Eight years didn’t seem enough. But it was a conviction. The truth was out there.

Four years later the conviction was quashed, a matter of weeks before he was due to be released. Not because he was deemed innocent, but because of a legal loophole.

When he was released, my world came crashing down. I was terrified of seeing this man in my home town.

I lived in fear and yet I was afraid of leaving my own home. Because while he was in jail, I received threatening letters which implied threats to myself and my child. It was signed off by “a praying friend”.

Afraid for my life and that of my family, I developed severe mental illness as a result and still to this day struggle with this.

I am still haunted by these memories. I still have nightmares about the abuse. The words he used to break me down are still stuck with me.

I still can’t leave my home on my own. I recall a time where I saw him when I was going into the doctors and I collapsed and was sick with fear. I couldn’t go into the same building as him.

Living in the same house as Davy Tweed, I was in constant fear knowing the strength he had with a punch or the full force of his open hand or a kick.

He often banged my head against a wall.

I remember seeing my amazing mother being thrown around and crying. The thuds still haunt me. It wasn’t just a one-off when he beat my mum. It happened on many occasions.

If he had a bad day at work or even me falling was enough to set him off.

He used any excuse. He would throw my mum into a room after a beating to tell us it was her fault.

The five daughters of Davy Tweed spoke out about the abuse they suffered (l-r) Jamiee-Lee, Catherine, Lorraine, Victoria, and Amanda

I can’t hide my mental illness any more. I want my story out there and I want people to know.

His death brought me nothing more than being able to release the fear that he would some day kill us.

Maybe now with that fear gone I can begin to heal. And maybe speaking my truth will help with that too.

One victim died as a result of the trauma caused by this abuser. Her life is irreplaceable.

And his passing is still not even karmic justice for the life we lost.

Grieve for him if you may for being an amazing rugby player, Orangeman or however he presented himself, but remember he was also a manipulator and a monster in disguise.

The truth is, Davy Tweed was a paedophile, a violent wife beater and a bully.

But those who supported me gave me the strength to tell my story. I want to thank them and let them know it means the world to me.

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