Ipswich child sex abuse victim waives anonymity to urge others to come forward

Sianne Mann

Sianne Mann - Credit: Archant

Thirty years after being sexually assaulted as a seven-year-old by her babysitter’s boyfriend Sianne Mann finally feels she has got justice.

Sianne Mann, aged seven

Sianne Mann, aged seven - Credit: Archant

Her abuser Nicholas Tilley was jailed for seven years last week at Ipswich Crown Court for assaults on Mrs Mann and another girl.

Waiving her right to anonymity the 36-year-old from Ipswich told how lasting impact of what Tilley did almost destroyed her life.

The assaults occurred at her family home in Stowmarket in the 1980s. At the time Tilley also lived in the area.

Mrs Mann said: “It was something that haunted me every day. There wasn’t a day that went by that it wasn’t in my head at least once. It affected my relationships with friends and family.

Nicholas Tilley

Nicholas Tilley - Credit: Archant

“I hate him. He’s destroyed my life. I had another life planned – my family had another life planned for me.

“Because of what he did I went completely off the rails.

Most Read

“I became a delinquent. I was running off. It was like I couldn’t be in the house.

“My relationship with my mum went downhill.

“At 11 years old I went to live with my grandmother because it became traumatic for my mum.

“I was a good little girl before it happened.

“I was that sweet little girl that everyone liked, Then by the age of nine or 10 I was horrible. By 13 to 14 I was mixing with drugs and alcohol, and used them to let things out.

“At 17 I had my son and got my life back on track. I managed to bury what happened. He was my saviour.”

However, Mrs Mann said as the year passed her health began to deteriorate again and she was referred for help.

She credits a mental health support group she was attending for playing its part in helping her to talk to the police.

“Luckily I have had a lot of support from a lot of brilliant people.

“The police officers and others who worked with me during the case were outstanding.

“When I first went to the police I was at the point where I had had a lot of therapy and was quite well.

“By the time I went to court I was a mess. In the last two-and-a-half years my mental health went downhill, my marriage broke down.

“I became so ill. It was like I was on a rollercoaster and it started eating away at anything good in my life until all that was left was the court case.

“In the last 12 months I have not been able to move forward or think about the future because I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be.

“Now, I’m relieved. I feel like I’m not scared of him anymore because I stood up to him.

“I don’t know what the future has in store but I’m hopeful.”

By refusing to hide behind a cloak of anonymity Sianne Mann hopes she will inspire other sex assault victims to find the courage to contact police

She said: “I think people are scared. I was scared for 29 years, but a friend of mine gave me the impetus to go to the police.

“I would say don’t be scared, the police will help.

“The police did their job so well he (Tilley) is now in prison and not going to harm anyone else.

“If there are girls out there who are scared to come forward - don’t be scared, talk to someone. You don’t have to go through it on your own.

“If I can turn things – horrible, horrible things – that happened to me into a positive, then something good has come out of it in the end.”

Paedophile Nicholas Tilley, 47, was convicted of three offences of indecent assault on Mrs Mann and another schoolgirl.

He had denied the charges.

At Tilley’s sentencing Judge David Goodin described the offences as “grubby and disgraceful”.

The court also heard that in 2008 Tilley was convicted of two offences of sexual assault on a six-year-old girl, and possessing and making indecent images of children and was jailed for six years.

During his latest trial the jury was told Tilley was 19 when he sexually assaulted the-then seven-year-old Mrs Mann while he was with his girlfriend who was babysitting.

Tilley had told her she was his “special girl” and that what took place was “their secret”.

Mrs Mann went to the police in 2014. During their enquiries the second victim came forward and said Tilley, now of Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, had indecently touched her on one occasion when she was 11 or 12.