Abuse victim's relief after St Albans paedophile is jailed

PUBLISHED: 08:40 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

Colin Wray

Colin Wray

A WOMAN has spoken of her relief after the man who sexually abused her as a child was jailed. As a young girl, Tracy Lawrence suffered abuse while in the care of Colin Wray, of Gorham Drive, St Albans. Wray, now 60, was sentenced to four years in prison

A WOMAN has spoken of her relief after the man who sexually abused her as a child was jailed.

As a young girl, Tracy Lawrence suffered abuse while in the care of Colin Wray, of Gorham Drive, St Albans.

Wray, now 60, was sentenced to four years in prison last Friday and placed on the sex offenders' register for life after pleading guilty to 14 counts of sexual abuse against children, between 1978 and 1987.

Now 37, Tracy this week waived her right to anonymity to encourage others who might have suffered similar abuse not to stay silent.

Said Tracy, who lives in Hatfield: "There may be other people that have had this done to them.

"I'm not ashamed, I'm not embarrassed, and even if there's one person out there who comes forward after this, then it will be worth it."

Tracy's ordeal began aged eight when Wray, a delivery driver who weighed between 28 and 30 stone at the time, was hired as her babysitter.

The abuse continued until she was 14, often during holidays to campsites in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Great Yarmouth.

At St Albans Crown Court, Wray, who has osteoarthritis and had to be stretchered into the courtroom by paramedics, had admitted at an earlier hearing to 10 counts of indecent assault, two counts of indecency, one of gross indecency and one of taking indecent images.

Prosecutor Sally Mealing-Mcleod told the court how he had groomed Tracy with sweets and had threatened to tell her mother what had happened.

Defence barrister Nicola Cafferkey said: "Imprisonment will be particularly difficult for him because of the very real health problems he has."

Tracy was present as Judge Stephen Warner handed down the sentence.

"There is a sense of relief," she said. "I'm not going to carry this around any more. It's a lot to carry, and now it feels like a weight has been lifted."

On having to dig up the past in order to bring Wray to justice, Tracy said: "It isn't as bad as what actually happened, as long as you've got someone to support you, and I've had brilliant support from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Victim Support, my friend Lianne Payne and my husband, Darren."

Det Con Heulwen Williams, of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: "This sends out a message to any other victims that Hertfordshire Constabulary will fully investigate child abuse and work with the CPS and other agencies to secure convictions.

"We believe that there may be other victims who have suffered at the hands of Wray and have not sought help. We would encourage anyone who has been affected by this man or have been a victim of such crimes to come forward."

She added: "The constabulary is committed to tackling those who sexually abuse children no matter how long ago the offences occurred."

Anyone who may have experienced historical abuse themselves should call the Herts Police child abuse investigation unit on 0845 33 00 222.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Herts Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Herts Advertiser