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Stepdaughter and victim of paedophile Davy Tweeds warns 'don't sectarianise sex abuse'

Tweed victim slams those making ordeal green or orange issue
Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown

Hugh Jordan

The stepdaughter of paedophile rugby star and one-time unionist councillor Davy Tweed warned: "Don't sectarianise sex abuse."

And Amanda Brown (41) said anyone using the revelations as a "stick to beat unionists should hang their heads in shame".

She and her sisters had no intention of allowing people to use their testimony as a "political battering ram".

"That in itself, further victimises us," she maintained.

A one-time TUV councillor - who had also represented Ian Paisley's DUP - 61-year-old Davy Tweed died in a motorbike crash on the Causeway Coast at the end of October.

Following his death three prominent unionist politicians who were personally friendly with Tweed - Jim Allister MLA, Mervyn Storey MLA and Ian Paisley MP - paid him tributes.

But they were immediately castigated by Amanda Brown and her four sisters, who all revealed Tweed had subjected them all to years of sex abuse and violence.

Sisters from left, Catherine, Victoria, Lorraine, Jamiee-Leigh and Amanda who were abused by Irish rugby international Davy Tweed

Sisters from left, Catherine, Victoria, Lorraine, Jamiee-Leigh and Amanda who were abused by Irish rugby international Davy Tweed

And they also pointed out that Tweed had admitted in court that he violently assaulted their mother on numerous occasions.

The voices of the victims, combined with massive public support, proved too much for DUP politicians Ian Paisley and Mervyn Storey, and through the DUP press office, they offered an apology.

The following day - after weeks of standing by his original tribute to Tweed - Mr Allister finally offered the victims an apology. And he urged victims of sex abuse to report the matter to the police in "a timely manner".

"This victimises us all over again," Amanda Brown said.

"I'm not battering Jim specifically, but he was the one who was most vocal about it. The DUP at least acknowledged the abuse we endured," she added.

Last week the Sunday World revealed Gemma Boyd - a 20-year-old university student and niece of Tweed - took her own life as a result of his sex abuse.

In an interview, Gemma's father James Boyd described how he told Tweed to his face he was "a dirty despicable excuse for a human being".

And speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Amanda Brown said she was aware of at least eight women who had been sexually abused by Tweed.

Amanda dismissed Mr Allister's apology which she said amounted to little more than 'victim blaming'.

She also cautioned politicians against reducing discussion on sex abuse to a sectarian headcount.

Amanda told the Sunday World: "I know it's second nature, but they shouldn't sectarianise sex abuse.

"It's no surprise that in this country there are so many people who want to bring this down to the level of orange and green.

"Politics has no place in the abuse of children. We have a responsibility to stand together and do better for our children.

"Most people who speak out about childhood abuse are in adulthood when they do so.

"So we also need to stop asking 'Why are you only speaking up now?'

"I don't care who does or doesn't believe me. I'm standing in my truth and I was prepared to do so, knowing that I would have half the country against me.

"Anyone who is using this as a stick to beat unionists should hang their heads in shame. We shared our stories to help other people.

"We hoped to start conversations around the dinner table. We wanted to show other victims, regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, that it's okay to speak up.

"We wanted them to know, they weren't to blame. Victims should have no shame or guilt around what has happened to them," Amanda insisted.

"Most of all we wanted victims to know there are organisations out there which will support them in confidence."

David Tweed

David Tweed

And newspaper columnist Mairia Cahill - herself a victim of sex abuse by a senior member of the IRA in Belfast - offered support to Amanda Brown and her sisters in their efforts to tell the truth about Tweed.

"People and especially politicians should not be attempting to capitalise on sex abuse. At all times, victims should be at the forefront of any discussion," she said.

Tweed had twice stood trial on serious sex abuse charges. In 2009, Tweed faced 10 sex abuse charges relating to two females, but he was acquitted.

But in 2012, Tweed was convicted of 13 counts of gross indecency spanning an eight-year period.

In 2016, Tweed's defence team successfully appealed his conviction based on omission by the trial judge when he addressed the jury.

hjordan.media@btinternet.com


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