Stepdaughter’s abuse nightmare is over

Gordon Heaton
Gordon Heaton

A BRAVE mum who suffered years of sickening sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather has spoken of her relief after a dramatic 11th-hour court appeal he had lodged was thrown out.

Sara Worrall previously waived her right to anonymity to tell the Wigan Evening Post of her years of turmoil back in June after Gordon Heaton, 73, of Crawford Close, Aspull, pleaded guilty to her indecent assault at Liverpool Crown Court.

But in a surprise turn of events, he then tried to challenged his own plea before a judge. Proceedings were postponed, causing extra months of anguish for Sara, not least because there was the possibility of her being put through a trial after all.

But now, with his appeal rejected, he is due to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday to set a sentencing date.

The Norley 24-year-old said: “It’s just such a relief that he’s finally going to pay for what he’s done to me but it just depends on his sentence. Justice needs to be served.

“The whole thing has just made me really ill and I just can’t wait to have him out of my life and move on with things.

“Im lucky to have such supportive people around me. I have two babies myself and I would wish that something like this never happens to them. I’ve been through hell.”

Sara says her life began to disintegrate at the age of just 10 years old when Heaton began his abuse.

She said: “He first came into my life when I was just five years old when he started to go out with my mum.

“He was really nice at first; he used to take me and my brother and sister to a farm in Beech Hill so we could see the animals. We liked him.

“But it was when we grew up a bit and my sister got a job and my brother began hanging around with his friends that he changed.

“He took me to the farm on my own when I was 10 years old and it was then when it started.

“He had never been like that before, he just used to say, ‘come on, we will go and see the sheep’.”

Sara said Heaton abused her and then told her she would be taken into care if she told anyone what was going on.

To the outside world, it was a very happy family, but to her it was just a ticking timebomb.

Sara added: “I never told anyone, he told me that if I did they wouldn’t believe me and I would be taken away.

“This is when I turned to drink and drugs. I wanted to block out the pain, I just didn’t want to visualise what had happened anymore.”

Sara began to self-harm, her life went into a downward spiral and she found herself on anti-depressants at the age of just 14.

She said: “My mum just thought I was going down the wrong path and that I was a wild child.

“But she didn’t know the truth. And I couldn’t tell her. I didn’t know at the time but it was a cry for help.

“It’s hard to live with that, you know? I was just a mess throughout the whole of high school.

“He took away my childhood.”

Heaton and her mum split six years ago after having a child together, but Sara only plucked up the courage to report the crime recently.