Wigan brothers jailed for sexually abusing children over 17 year period
Two Wigan brothers who subjected four schoolgirls to horrific sexual abuse have been jailed for 46 years between them.
Alan and Thomas Fowler's reign of terror lasted for 17 years, when their eldest victim was just seven, Bolton Crown Court heard.
And she spoke exclusively to Wigan Today this week to say that justice has finally been done after years of her and fellow victims' complaints falling on deaf ears.
The child rape victim, who is now 45, has told how she and her sisters would barricade themselves in a bedroom in a vain attempt to thwart sex attacks by vile paedophiles.
And the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons but shall be given the alias Jane, said that for years the youngsters would complain to responsible adults and the authorities, but no-one believed them or took the matter further.
Eventually, after growing up and moving away they decided they would never see the brothers - who have previous convictions for child sex crimes - brought to justice.
It was only when Jane mentioned their ordeal to someone in the fostering service four years ago that they were introduced to a police woman who believed their horrific story and a full investigation was launched.
The abuse has had a major impact on all three sisters.
Jane puts her depression, for which she takes medication, down to the abuse she suffered, and her 44 and 39-year-old siblings have both had children taken away from them because they have not been able to cope.
Again they attribute that to their terrible childhood experiences.
The brothers’ reign of terror went on from 1979 to 1996 and this week they were jailed for 46 years for no fewer than 36 sex crimes.
Jane said: “This finally gives us closure to a nightmare which began when I was just seven years old.
“We would put beds against the door to stop them getting in, but they got in anyway and repeatedly abused and raped us.
“Sometimes we were all in the same room and, in the dark, I knew that it was one of my sisters being attacked on some occasions even when it wasn’t me because you recognised the (men’s) breathing.
“You hear about children bottling things up for ages, but that didn’t happen with us.
“We did complain - many times over many years. But no-one would take us on.
“There are ‘responsible adults’ who have stuck by these men and denied what happened, protected them even. They should be in the dock too.
“We even complained to the police but that didn’t get anywhere until I was introduced to that policewoman four years ago.
“They both denied everything at first. Alan Fowler said he had never touched anyone, but then they did a DNA test which showed that he had fathered a child by my sister when she was 18.
“The fact that all three of us, plus the other victim, all stood up together helped with the case too.
“The only other thing we can be glad about now is that they pleaded guilty to most things and we were spared the extra anguish of a trial.
“Of course this should all have happened years ago but at least justice has been done.
“They are going to prison for a very long time but, then again, we are all serving a life sentence. It will never leave us until we die.
“They are disgusting, horrendous people, scum. They should bring back the death penalty for crimes like this. And they should rot in hell.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Both these men put their young victims through years of horrific abuse which they probably thought they had long got away with.
“Thanks to the incredible courage of the women they repeatedly targeted so many years ago, justice has now thankfully caught up with them.
“It’s important that survivors of child sexual abuse, which has devastating and lifelong effects, have the confidence to speak out – no matter how much time has passed.
“And ensuring each of the Fowlers’ victims receives ongoing support must now be a priority.”
l Anyone affected by sexual abuse can contact the NSPCC Helpline in confidence on 0808 8005000.
l Children seeking advice and support can call Childline on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk