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Haworth sex attack victim speaks out about his road to recovery
Updated 8:07am Thursday 17th July 2014 in News
A HAWORTH man brutalised by a sexual predator is helping victims of similar attacks move on from their ordeal.
Simon Holt is encouraging men who have been abused or sexually assaulted to report their attackers to police.
He said that seeing his own assailant brought to justice helped him achieve closure 16 years after the violent incident happened.
He said he could finally begin turning himself around after years of involvement in drugs, drink and petty crime sparked by his experience at the hands of Brian Jackson.
This week, two years after the “born-again preacher” was imprisoned, Simon waived his right to anonymity so he could proclaim a message of hope to Keighley News readers.
Simon, 43, said: “All people are hearing about are Rolf Harris and Parliament. All people see are the horrible things, not the success stories.
“Although I’ll never recover from the injuries I feel a lot better. I now want to live each day.
“The case helped me tremendously. I felt so much relief, I felt honesty and warmth, things I’d shed.
“I have friends in my life. I can speak to people and I value them a lot more."
Simon was a 27-year-old postman, living in a Bradford bedsit, when he was attacked by Jackson in 1996.
Simon believes the love and security of his close-knit family gave him strength to endure the aftermath of the attack, even though for several years he dared not tell relatives the truth.
He said: “I went from a Sunday league football player to a drug addict. I used everything I could find to dull the pain.
“I lost my job and my relationship. I wanted to destroy my friendships. I got myself involved in petty crime.”
A spell in prison in 2003 prompted Simon’s first attempt to change his life – training as an electrician – but he felt he could not truly find closure while Jackson remained free.
Simon praised the “fantastic” police team, led by Supt Lisa Griffin, who interviewed him during the complex investigation into Jackson’s crimes and supported him throughout the prosecution.
After the court case Simon felt needed to move out of Bradford, so he lived in Bracken Bank, Burley in Wharfedale and most recently Haworth.
Simon said he had mentored a teenage abuse victim in Keighley, and was proud to see him recently start college and decide to get engaged. He had also advised a police officer about the best way to talk to a man who had been sexually assaulted.
Simon added: “I’ve had about 20 calls from people since Rolf Harris case – survivors, people who have been told I will help.
“My advice to anyone who’s been attacked or abused is: tell the police, they will help.
“You’ll feel a hell of a lot better. You can’t change the past but you can get a future for yourself.”