A SEXUAL abuse campaigner raped by her father over a three-year period in the 1980s has described her relief after a jury found him guilty of 15 charges yesterday.

Paedophile Elliot Appleyard, of Gilthwaites Crescent, Denby Dale, denied five counts of rape and ten counts of indecent assault which happened between April 1982 and April 1985.

The 70-year-old’s daughter, Carol Higgins, who moved to Sheffield Road, Penistone to escape her father’s abuse, chose to waive the anonymity automatically granted in sexual-offence cases having given evidence in her father’s trial last week.

Carol, 49, who is a former Penistone Grammar School pupil, lived with her father from April 1984 when he won custody of her and her brother before she escaped his clutches at the age of 15 following ‘years of abuse’ in which he ‘treated her as if she was his wife’.

A 11-person jury deliberated for two hours yesterday before finding Appleyard guilty of all charges.

Speaking after the decision, Carol told the Chronicle she was ‘relieved’ after years of fighting for the result, which led the police to reopen the case in 2015 having opted against charging Appleyard when she first made a complaint as a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

She said: “I can’t describe it - it’s a huge relief and something I’ve fought for for more than 30 years.

“I wasn’t willing to stop and the police reopened the case after I wrote letters to Dee Collins (Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police) and Mark Burns-Williamson (West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner).

“I’ve persevered and I want this case to act as an encouragement for more sexual abuse victims to come forward as no-one seems to want to talk about incest.”

Shouts of ‘paedophile’ rang out from the public gallery when Judge Rodney Jameson QC told Appleyard he would be remanded in custody until his sentencing, which takes place at Leeds Crown Court today.

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