Mum's sorrow at 'lenient' jail term for child abuser

A MOTHER-of-four has waived her right to anonymity to hit out against her abuser's 'lenient' prison sentence

A MOTHER-of-four has waived her right to anonymity to hit out against her abuser's 'lenient' prison sentence.Amanda Alexander, aged 36, is still haunted by the painful memories of years of sexual abuse as a child.The health worker from Wick St Lawrence was abused from the age of five-11 by her neighbour Peter Rice, who was jailed for 12 months at Bristol Crown Court recently.The 75-year-old of Knightcott, Banwell, admitted one charge of indecency with a child and 10 counts of indecent assault of a child between 1976 and 1981.But Amanda believes the man who robbed her of her childhood and terrorised her early years should have gone down for at least five years.She said: "It's a small price to pay for years of abuse. He's destroyed so much and all he's got is one year, it's nothing. We, his victims, and those who love and support us, will forever live with the effects and devastation of a stolen childhood."Every single day I live with the effects. The sexual abuse I witnessed and was subjected to will haunt me forever as it affects every part of my life, especially relationships with those closest to me."Amanda, who suffered for years with depression, guilt and low self esteem, and still struggles with flashbacks and panic attacks because of the abuse, says the light sentences given to sex offenders is 'diabolical'.Responding to the Weston & Somerset Mercury's story a fortnight ago about 100 self-confessed rapists, paedophiles and 'kerb crawlers' being let off with a caution last year, she said: "It's very scary. "When you talk to other people about what's happened to you, you find out how common it is. By letting these people off with a slap on the wrists it's not going to change."Their sexual needs don't just stop, they have to feed their compulsion. We are just not doing anything to keep them off our streets."I think we should be making people a lot more aware about these issues. We all talk to our children about strangers, but often these people aren't strangers, they're family members or friends."Amanda reported Rice two years ago after she bumped into him at a funeral. The mother-of-four said telling her husband Rob and her family about the abuse was like reliving it all over again.She said: "It doesn't just hurt the victim it hurts everybody who loves them. It has been very stressful on my family."It's horrible seeing the hurt you're causing people by telling them, but my husband, family and friends have been very supportive."Amanda said Rice, who lived in Quarry Road, Sandford, just two houses away from her, used to have a fish pond in his garden. He used to ask Amanda and her friend, who also reported Rice, to accompany him on walks.She said: "He used to touch us and make us perform oral sex on him." Rice also showed them pornographic magazines.She said: "He made it all seem normal, like we weren't doing anything wrong. When we grew up and realised it was really wrong he stopped and I thought I couldn't tell anybody because it was so bad."It's not something I'll ever get over, you learn to live with it and deal with it. But now I've spoken out I don't feel the same guilt."Amanda believes people should be informed if a sex offender moves into their neighbourhood.She said: "I think people have a right to know. I've never made life difficult for him and I'm not into this vigilante business, but I wanted to warn other people about what he's done."Rice was ordered by Judge John Foley to sign the sex offenders' register and is now subject to an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, which means he cannot be in contact with a child under-16 without supervision.

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