Every night, little Caryn Walker cowered in fear as she waited to hear her dad’s footsteps on the landing at night.
Norman Yeo first abused her in her bedroom when she was eight.
He started off by showing her pictures of naked women in a porn magazine and telling her she “would be like that soon”.
The paedophile moved on to touching and raping her.
He carried on until Caryn was 16 – but more than two decades went by before he was finally brought to justice.
Caryn only plucked up the courage to tell police after her older sister Jenny died suddenly aged just 36 without seeing their vile dad caged for his crimes.
Yeo was eventually jailed for 16 years and Caryn has told the sisters’ horrific story in a heartbreaking memoir entitled Tell Me You’re Sorry, Daddy.
She said: “Our childhoods were just awful but the sad thing is, I thought the way we lived was normal.
“No one ever told me they loved me, or read me a bedtime story. I was in my twenties before anyone gave me a hug.
“I hated every second of what my dad did to me. I was so little and it was so painful but he lied and told me all dads did this to their daughters.
“I never thought I’d find the courage to go to the police. I assumed these terrible things must somehow be my fault. I’m speaking out for Jenny.
“She always said she wanted to write a book about what happened to us but now it’s up to me.”
Jenny had been taken into care aged 18 months after social workers found her severely underweight and covered in bruises.
The authorities suspected Yeo and his wife Lesley of harming Jenny – but, amazingly, left Caryn in their clutches in Wallasey, Merseyside – a decision she questions every day.
Caryn said: “Why didn’t they take me, too? They obviously knew my parents were not nice people.
“We lived in complete fear of upsetting them. I don’t have any happy memories of my childhood.
“I only realised this wasn’t normal when I went to a friend’s house after school and her family were smiling and laughing together and her mum was baking cakes.
“Her house felt so safe, but we were never safe. We were always on edge.”
Caryn was eight when Yeo first crept into her room in the dead of night.
She said: “It wasn’t long before he started trying to rape me. Eventually, he succeeded.
“It would happen night after night, but there was nothing I could do.
“I would just lie on my bed, covered in blood, praying for it to stop.
“I tried to barricade my door to stop him from getting into my room but he always found a way.”
The sexual abuse only ended when Yeo left the family home, shortly after Caryn turned 16, but the mental scars remained.
Aged 17, she fell pregnant with her only son Karl, now 29, to an older boyfriend. She said: “I’d never
felt love like I felt for my baby, as I held his hand in his little glass cot. I whispered, ‘I don’t know how to love you, but I am going to learn’.
“I was so nervous, as no one had ever shown me any love, but I was determined to protect him. Yet it made me so sad that no one had felt that way about me when I was a baby.”
As adults, she and Jenny tried to forge the sisterly bond they’d missed out on as children.
Jenny had spent her childhood being shunted between foster carers and children’s homes, only seeing Caryn when she was allowed home for visits.
Caryn said: “We got on well but we didn’t have that natural connection that sisters who have been brought up together have.
“It was painful for us to talk about what had happened. Jenny told me that when she’d got her first flat, aged 16, Dad would come round constantly, demanding sex.
“To him, his daughters were just something to be used.”
The sisters had finally become close when Jenny died of a brain aneurysm aged 36.
Caryn said: “My mum called to tell me but there was no emotion in her voice. I was distraught.”
For the next four years, Caryn lived in limbo, scared she couldn’t find the strength to report her dad. But a chance meeting with him in 2010 at her gran’s nursing home spurred her into action.
She said: “I hadn’t seen him for years but I suddenly became paralysed by fear that he might have access to kids.
“I drove to the police station three times before I plucked up the courage to go in. They took me straight into a private room and I gave a 12-page statement.
“It was surreal but I spoke to Jenny in my head a lot, asking her to help me through.
“Dad was arrested and tried to kill himself.
“But he wouldn’t admit everything he’d done to me so I was told I’d have to give evidence against him in court.”
Caryn suffered months of nightmares and flashbacks but refused to back down – convinced Jenny was looking down on her.
She said: “Throughout the process, I kept seeing magpies everywhere and I became convinced it was Jenny’s way of telling me she was with me.
“The day I took the stand, there was one just outside my house. I
really feel like she was with me.”
Yeo, then 63, was found guilty by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court of eight offences of rape and five of indecent assault. He had admitted 10 charges of indecent assault.
Jailing him for 16 years, Judge John Phipps said: “This case concerns regular, repeated systematic abuse.”
Caryn, who went to court to see her dad sentenced in 2011, said: “It was so important for me to hear that, to have someone say it wasn’t my fault.”
Yeo is eligible for parole next summer.
But Caryn said: “For me, forgiveness is a strange word. I don’t believe what my dad did was OK, but I have been able to let go.
“I’m not angry any more because my anger will only hurt me. I’m just glad I’ve finally been able to give Jenny the voice she never had.
“I wish she could see how much I’ve grown. I’m no longer a scared little girl. I’m speaking out for both of us.”
- Tell Me You’re Sorry, Daddy, by Caryn Walker with Linda Watson-Brown, is out now, published by John Blake at £8.99.