Survivors Journey / JAMES Fearn – Dundee 


Brenda Robbins was aged just 11 when twisted James Fearn started molesting her.

And over the course of the next few years, the abuse became so routine she believed her tormentor was treating it as casually as he would an “everyday chore”.

Brave Brenda waives her right to anonymity to speak out about the “hell” she endured at his hands.

Fearn, 70, was jailed for six years for abusing her and two other children between 1977 and 1983.

And although he was only brought to justice earlier this month, Brenda claims she repeatedly raised the alarm with police and social workers decades ago.

The 51-year-old told the Tele: “The abuse started when I was 11. He was my mum’s boyfriend. I don’t know how they met but he moved in with us, him and all his family.

“As soon as he came in he basically took over the house.

“He would go out to the shops at 5.30am and when he came back he’d have me in the living room and he would force himself on me.

“He wouldn’t say anything to me during it, after it or in the house. It was like an everyday chore to him.”

Brenda said that although the ordeal had a traumatic impact on her, Fearn could never silence her.

She revealed: “I never felt guilty the entire time. I know some victims would but I knew what he was doing was wrong.

“I told my neighbour about it, I told the police about it 20 years ago and I told a social worker.

“Nothing was done about it and I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t helping me. I never hid what was happening — I told everyone I possibly could.

“It was agreed evidence in court that a report had previously been made to the CID and social workers.”

Brenda said the abuse finally stopped shortly before Fearn left the family home when she was in her late teens.

By then, she had moved in with her boyfriend and future husband.

She said: “Fearn completely ruined my teenage years. I met my first husband when I was 17, I moved out at 18, had my son at 20, got married at 22 and divorced at 24.

“I was just desperate to find any man to help me escape from the hell I was going through.

“I’ll never forget when he saw me with my first boyfriend — he called me a cow from the window and shouted for me to come in and get a bath.

“The abuse stopped not long after that and he left a few months later.”

Fearn, a former Dundee City Council worker, stood trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of abusing Brenda and two other children — including raping one of them — between 1977 and 1983.

Brenda had to endure the trauma of reliving the horrendous abuse in court.

It was the first time she had seen Fearn for more than 30 years.

Brenda said: “I had never heard anything about him until the day I saw him in court.

“I hadn’t seen him in about 30 years. My throat dried up, I was shaking terribly and I just couldn’t speak.

Brenda looks over Dundee. She said James Fearn “ruined” her teenage years.

“But I knew it was my only chance and I came through it. I was gunning for him.”

She added: “I was disgusted with the sentence he got — I felt badly let down.

“It’s disgraceful but I have to just look at it as a victory because he was found guilty.

“There must be more victims out there.

“He doesn’t just disappear out of my life for 30 years and not carry on with that kind of behaviour.”

Courage of victims ‘to be commended’

Evil James Fearn targeted three children, including Brenda, in Dundee between 1977 and 1983.

His trial at the High Court in Edinburgh heard how he raped his first victim when they were aged just nine.

The 70-year-old then continued to have sex against the child’s will on various occasions until 1983.

Fearn repeatedly sexually assaulted Brenda between 1977 and 1981.

His third victim was just 12 when he started a three-year catalogue of abuse.

Fearn, of Arklay Street, was brought to justice after his victims told police about his sick attacks.

He denied the charges but was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to six years in prison.

A spokesman for NSPCC Scotland said: “This sentencing sends out a strong message once again that child abuse will not be tolerated, no matter when the offences took place.

“Fearn’s denial of his crimes forced his victims to relive in court the horrific assaults he subjected them to over many years, and their courage in coming forward should be commended.

“We hope the sentence passed will offer some relief.

“Sexual crimes against children are offences of the utmost seriousness and can have a devastating effect on the victims which can last into adulthood.

“It is vital that victims know they will be listened to, believed and supported when they report abuse.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline free, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000.

Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111.


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