Womenz Magazine

‘My dead baby had to be dug up to prove my rapist brother was the dad’

A mother who was abused by her stepdad, mum and brother has revealed her ordeal in a new book.

Mum-of-six Maureen Wood’s childhood sex torment remained a secret for three decades – but now she wants to share her harrowing story in the hope of helping other survivors.

She was abused by her mother Maureen Wood Sr and stepfather John Wood, and fell pregnant after being raped by her brother, John Donnelly, when she was just 13 years old.

Maureen, of Stoke-On-Trent, who is a grandmother of three and now aged 50, said: “I’m sharing my story in the hope that others can see that there is a future after abuse. There are people out there that can help and there are people who will listen to you.

“Mentally I’m in the best place I’ve ever been – I’m great. Those three destroyed my childhood and I wasn’t going to let them destroy my whole adult life too.

“For 29 years I carried that sense of guilt and now I’ve handed it back. They are the ones who should be ashamed. I just decided I wasn’t going to let them destroy my life anymore.”

Maureen’s tormentors were finally locked up in 2011 after the body of her baby son Christopher – who died when he was four weeks old – was dug up. DNA tests proved Donnelly was the father.

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, her stepdad was convicted of seven counts of rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Her 46-year-old brother Donnelly received two years in jail after admitting rape, incest and indecent assault.

In a re-trial, Maureen Wood Sr, then 65, was found guilty of four counts of aiding and abetting the rape of a girl under 16. She was jailed for nine years.

As the victim of sexual abuse, Maureen is entitled to lifelong anonymity, but she has chosen to reveal her identity to encourage other people who have suffered similar experiences to seek help.

On why she believes now is the right time to share her story, she says: “I wasn’t ready before but last year I felt in a good place mentally and physically. Once I made the decision, I was determined to get my story out there before I was 50.

“I got my own copy this week and one of my children turned around to me the other day and said ‘I’m proud of you, mum’.

“And if it helps just one person, I know I will have done my job.”

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