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Woman told to pay £35,000 damages to man who sexually abused her for a decade

Jake Massey

Published 
| Last updated 

Woman told to pay £35,000 damages to man who sexually abused her for a decade

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

A woman who was sexually abused by her mother's partner for a decade has been ordered her to pay him £35,000 damages.

Kirsty Easthope has also been told by a judge to pay her own and convicted serial sex offender Arthur Hepple's legal fees, which are estimated to total around £100,000.

In addition, the 52-year-old was told to furnish the £300,000 bungalow she inherited from her mum at her own expense, before 83-year-old Hepple moves back in.

The ruling follows a dispute over the will left by Kirsty's late mum Irma Barnett, which stated that Hepple should be allowed to live in the home after her death for the rest of his life.

Kirsty was abused for a decade. Credit: SWNS
Kirsty was abused for a decade. Credit: SWNS

Irma wrote the will in 2000 but died in 2013 aged 81. According to her daughter Kirsty, she was suffering from dementia and was unaware of the abuse.

Serial sex offender Hepple started abusing Kirsty in 2003, the same year Irma was diagnosed with dementia.

After being abused for 10 years, Hepple then sexually assaulted Kirsty's daughter - who was 14 at the time - which prompted Kirsty to report him to the police.

Hepple was given a suspended prison sentence in 2014 and put on the sex offenders register.

He was then imprisoned for another sex attack on a different woman and her teenage daughter in 2017.

But after being released from prison after serving one year, Hepple insisted on returning to the former family home in York, North Yorkshire, which prompted a court battle.

Kirsty had rented the property out while he was in prison and Hepple contested his right to return to the detached bungalow when he was released from jail in October 2018.

Estate agent Kirsty didn't allow him to re-enter and offered him alternative accommodation, which he denied.

Now, after he took the case to Leeds County Court, a judge has ruled in Hepple's favour and Kirsty has been forced to evict her tenants.

She faces a total bill of more than £100,000 after paying Hepple £35,000 in damages, around £25,000 in legal costs and her own fees of £40,000.

A judge ruled in favour of Hepple. Credit: SWNS
A judge ruled in favour of Hepple. Credit: SWNS

The court want Kirsty to pay Hepple as soon as possible, which has lead to her friend Christina setting up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs.

Kirsty said: "When I found out Christina had set up the GoFundMe, I just thought it was amazing.

"People have just been so kind to me and I just want to thank everyone for their donations as I understand that people are struggling right now with the cost of living.

"I didn't even know what GoFundMe was before Christina showed me, she showed me an example of someone else's page and I just thought it was amazing.

"I never in my wildest dreams thought I would raise this much."

If Kirsty raises more than £100,000, she will donate the rest of the money to mental health charity Mind, which she said has been a vital support.

She said: "I've never ever struggled before but they have helped me so much and they will just help everyone and anyone."

If you'd like to donate to the GoFundMe, click here.

Here's a list of mental health helplines and services that are just a call away in the UK:

. Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will talk to you about anything that's bothering you. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected] or visit some branches in person. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 164 0123 from 7pm to 11pm every day.

. The Mix take calls from under 25s on 0808 808 4994 from seven days a week from 3pm to 12am. You can request support by email using the form on The Mix website or using their crisis text messenger service.

. Papyrus HOPELINEUK is there for under 35s struggling with suicidal feelings, or those who are concerned about a young person who might be struggling. You can call them on 0800 068 4141 every day from 9am to 12am. You can also email [email protected] or text 07860 039 967.

. The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) caters specifically to males on 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight every day. Alternatively, you can use their webchat service.

. The Nightline website allows students to see if their university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

. Switchboard is there for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and can be reached on 0300 330 0630 from 10am to 10pm every day. You can also email here or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.

. The Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L). is available for those who live in Wales and can be contacted on 0800 132 737, which is open 24/7. You can also text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.

Topics: News

Jake Massey
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