Woman urges others to speak out
A victim of a convicted paedophile who escaped justice for almost 30 years because police didn’t believe her is urging other victims to come forward.
In November, Keith Royal (67), who lived in Kirkcaldy during the mid-’80s and in the ‘90s, was jailed for almost seven years after a court case held in Burnley, Lancashire.
But the victim, whose approach to police again last year led to his conviction, firmly believes there are others in Kirkcaldy who may still be suffering in silence.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal purposes, said: “This picture might just jog their memory, I don’t want other people to continue to feel like I’ve felt over the years.
“Only after he was convicted of crimes against me did I learn that he had also been convicted of abducting a 13 year-old girl in Greater Manchester.”
Royal’s victim, who was a girl at the time, had been subjected to sickening sexual abuse over a period of years.
Encouraged by Esther Rantzen’s Childline appeals on TV she approached Fife Constabulary in 1984 for help.
“It was just horrible. I felt ashamed but the police made me feel 100 times worse,” she said.
“I had told them he had left no physical evidence but they still made me go through a full examination carried out by a male doctor.
“I can still picture it - I was in a dark room with a little square table with an ashtray on top. A social worker behind me hardly said a word and, facing me, a male officer who would just light up cigarette after cigarette over two hours and repeatedly say to me ‘Why do you keep telling us lies?’
“I was crying my eyes out.”
Police questioned Royal but he was not charged.
Only after Operation Yewtree began making high-profile arrests in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, did Royal’s victim, by now living in Lancashire, summon the courage to approach police again.
“I was in the back garden listening to the radio and kept hearing news bulletins on the hour every hour.
‘‘A police spokesman kept saying that historical cases would be dealt with seriously, whether the abusers were famous or not.
”He also said police had changed their ways of dealing with people now and that kind of pricked my ears up.”
“Something just snapped inside and I thought I had to do something.”
Encouraging other victims of Royal to come forward, she confirmed her experience this time was “completely different.”
“This time police were compassionate, they believed everything I said.
‘‘I had to go through everything in detail and that was hard because it brought flashbacks but I could take my time and they were totally supportive.”
In May, when police confronted Royal with allegations of sex abuse he immediately confessed.
Royal, most recently of Rochdale, was ordered to sign the Sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
He was also given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, banning him from any unsupervised contact with children under 16 until further order.
His victim said: “It was a kind of relief that I had been believed at last; that it wasn’t in my head, that I hadn’t dreamt it.”
Rape reports on increase
Last year, police in Fife revealed rape reports had doubled in the Kingdom in the wake of Jimmy Savile.
Up until September, police dealt with 97 cases compared to 49 in 2012, and 35 of them were historical.
Detective Inspector Michelle Johnson, heading Fife’s new rape investigation team, said: “People are getting the message that if they go to the police now, they will be believed.
“It doesn’t matter who the person is, or if it happened 30 years ago.
“Victims will still get the same level of investigation as someone who reported a rape which happened last night.”