Every weekend mum sent me to stay with Geoffrey. But he wasn’t a friendly babysitter, he was a predatory paedophile…
By Charmaine Underwood, 21, from Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex
Geoffrey has been in our lives for as long as I can remember. A close family friend, he was always popping over to ours for a chat and a cuppa with my mum and step-dad.
I grew to love him like an uncle and when Mum and my step-dad broke up when I was 13, Geoffrey was a shoulder to cry on.
He came to the house more often and was a real support for me and Mum. We knew we could count on Geoffrey.
So when I began rowing with Mum, we turned to him.
It was just typical teenage tantrums but when Geoffrey offered for me to stay at his place on weekends, we jumped at the chance.
It would give Mum some space from my strops and I’d get some much-needed alone time.
My weekend sleepovers with Geoffrey were great – at first. But then he put his arm around me and touched my leg while we watched TV.
I tried to brush it off but the next weekend, he exposed himself and made me touch his private parts.
Terrified, I did what I was told and quickly, his abuse escalated until Geoffrey was sexually abusing me every weekend.
Once, he tied me to the bed, attacked me, then left me there for over an hour. I longed to tell Mum what was happening but I was scared she wouldn’t believe me.
Geoffrey used to tell me that we were a couple and that if I told anyone, he’d hurt my family.
Kind ‘uncle’ Geoffrey was gone and in his place was a monster. I was trapped and at the mercy of the evil babysitter
Desperate for a way out, I began inviting friends to Geoffrey’s house on the weekends.
There was no way he’d touch me if they were around… would he? But the sick paedo continued abusing me, he simply took me to a different room.
But my babysitter’s brazen attacks would be his downfall.
When he touched my friend and tried to persuade us to take part in a threesome, she went to police.
Geoffrey was arrested and eventually, I summoned the courage to tell officers everything.
I filled seven sheets of paper as I wrote down everything he’d done to me.
Geoffrey pleaded guilty to 14 counts of sexual offences, and in May 2010 he was jailed for nine-and-a-half years.
Mum was distraught. She’d had no idea she’d been delivering me into the hands of a predatory paedophile each weekend.
She thought Geoffrey was a family friend, doing us a favour.
She held my hand throughout the court case and now, we’re closer than ever.
But I’ll never forget my hell at the hands of my evil babysitter.
Charmaine’s mum Tina, 49, said: “Learning from the police what Geoffrey had done to my daughter was a day I’ll never forget. I was so shocked – he was a family friend who was like an uncle to Charmaine. He was my ex-husband’s best friend, a friend for 11 years and I trusted him completely. When things got difficult between Charmaine and I, he offered to have her on the weekends. Now, I struggle with the guilt that I let her go there. I had no idea what he was going to do – the police say that he probably planned it from the start. He groomed my daughter and I’ll never forgive him, he’s sick. My mother died during this time, and I went into hospital after having an asthma attack. Each time, he offered to look after Charmaine. Now I know the sickening truth.”
As told to Helen O’Brien Google
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