Sex abuser Davy Tweed's daughter tells of horrors suffered at the hands of dad
"Tweed would threaten the lives of my family if I spoke out - I still have nightmares about the abuse"
Mum-of-one Lorraine Tweed (36) write for the Sunday World about the horrors of her abuse:
"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. I'd had bed wetting issues which progressed into adulthood.
"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.
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.
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 a threat to myself and my child. It was signed off by "a praying friend".
I say I lived but really I existed in fear that he would do what he promised when I was a little girl. Afraid for my life and that of my family, I developed severe mental illness as a result of this 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 don't think anyone understands the level of terror I feel when I think of him or see his name.
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.
I had one place in my bedroom where I would curl up in a ball and cry. My older sister always came to comfort 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.
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.
People need to stop victim blaming and victim shaming.
Grieve for him if you may for being an amazing rugby player, Orangeman or however he presented himself to you, 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 of the anxiety and depression I still live with every day.
I want to thank them and let them know it means the world to me.
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