A woman who was sexually abused by her stepfather has spoken out after watching him jailed – thirty years after he attacked her.
Brave Leyna Tucker, 46, faced her abuser Andrew Fulcher, 64, in court – and afterwards waived her right to anonymity to encourage other victims of abuse to come forward.
Fulcher had denied eight counts of indecent assault against Leyna and another girl between 1930 and 1987, but was convicted by a jury.
Leyna smiled as she left the court, as Fulcher was branded “evil and sadistic” by a judge who sentenced him to four years behind bars.
The court heard that Fulcher had abused Leyna when she was 12 or 13, but she waited until her mother, Rose, had died before going to the police.
Leyna said: “I could not have done this if she was still alive.
“Looking back, my childhood ended the day he came into our small tight-knit family.”
“I allowed my body to be abused by many men, as if that was the right thing to do. I had relationships that were based on drinking and partying.
“I have had counselling in the past but it did not work, I can now believe that it was not my fault. It has taken me 30 years to realise that he was responsible.”
Leyna, now living in Cornwall, has not had any children and she believes that the abuse she suffered is “part of that”.
But she is now working in hospitality and has been married for 13 years to a “lovely man”, John Tucker. Twelve years her senior, he has two children from a previous marriage.
Leyna said the four-year jail term was what she had predicted. Fulcher should be released after half that term but will remain on the sex offender register for life.
After the case, she said: “I cannot stop smiling. I am not too disappointed with that. sentence I just wanted people to know what he is like.”
Leyna said other victims of sexual abuse should come forward and not feel they are responsible for what happened to them as children.
The second victim, who has not waived her right to anonymity, told the court in a statement that she had been unable to trust men after she was abused by Fulcher.
She said: “I felt desperately isolated. I was on my own. With my boyfriend it never went any more than a kiss.
“My husband, now my ex-husband, was very good to me. He waited patiently for three months.
“I am very protective towards my children, although I trust them; it is other people I do not trust.”
Barry White, for Fulcher, said: “He may be only 64 but any prison sentence will take up a larger portion of his remaining life that a fitter or healthier man.”
Jailing Fulcher for four years, Judge Darlow said: “This was a gross breach of trust. The one place a child is entitled to feel sale is in their own home.
“This is all motivated, as you see it, by some sort of spite. But the jury did not that that credible.”
Officer in the case DC Jim Hanrahan, of Plymouth CID, supported Leyna’s call for victims of historic sexual abuse to come forward.
He said outside court: “Devon and Cornwall police do take allegations seriously and will investigate them regardless of how far back they go.
“The message is that the police will investigate all allegations and when we can we will take then all the way to court.”