Man sexually abused by former Norfolk PCSO wants others to speak out about abuse
- Credit: Simon Parkin
A man who was sexually assaulted by a former PCSO and traffic warden 30 years ago has agreed to talk publicly about his ordeal, in an effort to give confidence to other abuse victims to break their silence.
Wesley Spinks, 41, has had a successful career in the hospitality industry, having worked at a number of football clubs, including Norwich City, Chelsea and Ipswich Town over the years.
He even bumped into his abuser at Carrow Road, years later, when he was working there. At the time, he says he did nothing because he felt "you didn't speak about things like that. You just didn't", and it took several more years for him to report his experience to police.
The former Hellesdon High School pupil now lives in Portsmouth, but was back in Norwich on Monday to attend the sentencing of his abuser, Shane Vertigan, 52.
Vertigan was jailed for four and a half years after having previously admitted three counts of gross indecency with a child under 14 and two counts of indecent assault on a boy under 14 dating back to 1992/1993 when Mr Spinks was just 12 or 13.
Vertigan, who worked previously as a police community support officer (PCSO) in Fakenham as well as a traffic warden, is already serving a six-year sentence imposed two years ago for sexual assaults committed against a teenage girl in the mid 2000s.
It has been a long road to justice for Mr Spinks, who has agreed to waive the lifetime anonymity afforded to sex abuse victims in order to try and encourage other potential victims to come forward to police.
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He said: "I want people to be able to speak up.
"I want people to not be scared to come forward.
"I want to say its alright to talk - don't carry it.
"I want that to be the message: there's hope out there.
"You shouldn't have to live with what's happened to you and carry it because you can be free."
It was when he was 12 or 13 that Mr Spinks, who at the time lived in Hellesdon, was abused by Vertigan - an apparently upstanding member of the community who was a friend of the family.
Vertigan, formerly of Whitelands Fakenham, used to take the young Mr Spinks to watch Norwich City and it was while on the way to Carrow Road that Vertigan would abuse the teenager.
Mr Spinks said: "It was when I used to go to the football club.
"I just felt physically sick. That feeling stays with you from day dot."
Other incidents of abuse occurred when they were playing on the computer in Mr Spinks' bedroom.
He did not speak about what had happened to him for years and even bumped into Vertigan in his later teens while working in catering kiosks at Carrow Road but said nothing at the time.
He said: "I just didn't say anything at that stage until I grew up.
"You didn't speak about things like that. You just didn't. It was such a taboo."
The former Norwich City College hospitality management student said having later moved to London and with successful jobs everything appeared to be going well, but he was still haunted by his past.
"I was angry, disgusted with what happened and my initial strategy was to have a drink."
But in the past couple of years, Mr Spinks, who is now married, made the momentous decision to confront his past head on.
He said: "It was something I needed to get rid of."
The matter was initially reported to police in Brighton, where Mr Spinks was living, but later transferred to Norfolk police.
Mr Spinks is pleased Vertigan has now admitted the offences committed against him 30 years ago.
He said: "This is more for him to take responsibility for what he did and for me to move on.
"I don't want him to sit in prison for the next however many years.
"I almost feel bad this has happened - it's a terrible thing he did but everyone needs forgiveness.
"It's been 30 years ago now, its time to move on."