Two mums who were sexually abused as children by the same man joined forces thirty YEARS later to ensure their abuser remains on the sex offenders register.
Kate Taylor, 37, and Kerrie Jones, 35, were abused by their Catholic primary school teacher Gerard Kelly now 59, when they were just six years old.
In February 1999, 14 years after the abuse took place, Kelly was convicted of indecent assault against seven underage schoolgirls – including Kate and Kerrie – and was sentenced to five years in prison at Doncaster Crown Court.
He was also ordered on to the sex offenders register for life.
Last year, Kate, an office manager, contacted the police to find out what had happened to her abuser, and discovered he had applied to come off the register following a law change in 2012 which allows sex abusers to apply to come off the register.
The pair united and launched a campaign to ensure he never came off the sex offenders register.
Now, the pair have waived their right to anonymity to encourage other victims of sex crimes to ‘keep track’ of their abusers and make sure ‘life means life’ when it comes to sex offenders staying on the register.
Kerrie, a hairdresser, said: “I want to protect other people and make them aware of this change.
“Any sex offender given life on the register should not have the human right to appeal, to have that hope that one day they will have freedom.
“These people should spend the rest of their lives on the register so people know they’re dangerous.”
Last year, Kate got in touch with the South Yorkshire Police to find out what had happened to Kelly.
She says: “I just had a weird feeling inside me and I wanted to know what had happened to him.
“That was when I discovered that he was still alive and had actually applied to come off the sex offenders register in August.”
In 2012 the Supreme Court declared that convicted sex abusers were allowed the right to apply to be removed from the register after 15 years.
Disgusted, Kate got in contact with Kerrie on the phone at the salon where she works.
The pair had not see each other since testifying in court 17 years prior, but were united in their determination to prevent Kelly’s name being removed.
To fight his application, they met a police liaison officer to express their discontent and offered statements – along with some of his other victims – outlining why his request should be rejected.
In December they were told that they had been successful and now Kelly will remain on the register indefinitely.
While battling for their ‘justice’ the pair tell how joining forces against their abuser brought them closer together and they’ve developed a close friendship.
Kate and Kerrie are now campaigning to raise awareness for the law change so other abuse victims are made aware.
She said: “Primary school is supposed to be a safe place, but for me it was far from that.
“I was six years old and the man I trusted abused his power.
“Even after he was jailed, I suffered from anxiety and flashbacks. It pained me to know that one day he would get out of jail.
“When I heard that the law changed in 2012 and he had applied to come off the register I felt sick and knew I had to alert his other victims, so I got in touch with Kerrie and other victims.”
The pair are now speaking to schools to encourage them to educate children about their own privacy.
Kerry adds: “Abuse can happen to any child at any time, and we want the topic to stop being taboo.
“If we had been educated at a young age, we might have been protected.”
A South Yorkshire police spokesperson said: “Adult offenders can apply to come off the Sex Offenders’ Register after they have been subject to the requirements for 15 years, following their release from custody.
“If a person receives a prison sentence of over 30 months, they are required to notify onto the register indefinitely. The application is submitted and a decision made by the relevant police force by an officer of at least the rank of Superintendent.
“This process takes a number of factors into consideration, including a complex risk assessment and other cautions or convictions for sexual offences. It also includes checks with probation, social care and other agencies. During this time, victims are also contacted, to seek their views.
“This process is not done through court proceedings, but by officers contacting the relevant bodies and individuals over a period of usually a few weeks.”