Abuse victim waives right to anonymity

Published Monday, 27 January 2014
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A woman who was subjected to what a judge described as "a depraved and humiliating period of sexual and physical abuse" over a three year period, starting in April 2006 when she was aged 15, has waived her right to anonymity.

Abuse victim waives right to anonymity
Laura Forest was able to leave her abuser following a near-fatal overdose. (© UTV)

Her abuser, who was jailed for 12 years at Londonderry Crown Court on 8 January when he pleaded guilty to 19 charges of sexual abuse, can now therefore be named.

He is 44-year-old Rodney Joseph Campbell, from Sperrin Road, in Limavady, Co Londonderry. His victim, who can now also be named, is Laura Forest.

In court on Monday morning, her solicitor Paddy McGurk told sentencing Judge Philip Babington that Ms Forest had instructed him to apply for the anonymity order in relation to her to be lifted.

He said she realised the order was put in place for her own protection, but she now felt she no longer needed the protection given to her by the order.

In response Judge Babington said: "There is no such thing as an anonymity order. Injured parites have the statutory right in sexual cases to have their identity protected.

"They automatically have a life long right to anonymity. Defendants do not have that right, but the press are under a statutory duty not to do anything that might identify the injured party.

"But it is my view that if a complainant, as has happened in two other recent cases in this court, wishes to waive her right to anonymity, it is her right. Therefore, if the media wish to name the defendant in this case there is nothing I can do about it unless there is an application from the defendant, for example, in respect of his human rights.

"The application is therefore granted which means as the complainant has waived her right to anonymity she can be named and it means the defendant can be named", he said.

Solicitor Don Mahoney for Campbell said "because I accept there is no basis to challenge the complainant's right, I am making no application in respect of the defendant".

The graphic details of the case caused widespread shock in the north-west area.

In his sentencing comments earlier this month, Judge Babington said Campbell had treated the girl "as his own personal plaything and subjected her to gratuitous violence of the very worst type".

He said Laura Forest, who had previously been in a relationship with her abuser's teenage son "had been moved to secure accommodation from a children's home and it seems then that nobody bothered with her apart for the defendant.

"When she left the children's home she went to her sister's and then was practically forced to live with the defendant", he said.

Judge Babington said Laura Forest lived in fear of Campbell, who had subjected her to violent sexual and physical abuse including dipping her head in cooking oil, stubbing out a cigarette on her body and regularly throttled her causing her to black out and lose consciousness.

"She was regularly abused, humiliated and beaten but it was not until October 2009 that she was able to leave him following an overdose from which she nearly died," Judge Babington said in his sentencing comments.

As well as being jailed for 12 years, Campbell will be the subject of a Sex Offender's Prevention Order for the rest of his life and he has also been placed on the Sex Offender's Register for the rest of his life.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (363 days ago):
Laura, I wish you the best of everything in your future. You are an inspiration and hopefully, what you have done in speaking out will give others who are suffering abuse the momentum to seek help. Stay strong.
Tony in Newtownabbey wrote (363 days ago):
Very brave lady to go on TV and share her tragic story of being a victim after whar she was subjected to , awful! nobody deserves this - well done! I hope the world now know what an animal her partner was.
Ryan in An Dun wrote (363 days ago):
Very brave lady. Hopefully this will all not be for nothing and the scum that committed this crime doesn't get a lenient sentence.
Peter in Ballinderry wrote (364 days ago):
A very courageous person.
Marie Masterton in Derry City wrote (365 days ago):
I applaud this Lady's bravery. Well done Laura for remaining strong and steadfast and helping to put this brute where he belongs. God Bless you and may you have many, many years filled with beautiful memories which hopefully will erase those horrible, painful ones. xxxx
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