Woman allowed to live in family home of man who sexually abused her

A woman who was sexually abused by her mother’s partner for ten years has been ordered by the court to pay her £35,000 in damages and allow her to live in her family’s home.

Kirsty Easthope, 52, was also told by a judge to pay her and convicted serial sex offender Arthur Hepple legal fees, estimated at around £100,000.

He was told to furnish the £300,000 bungalow he inherited from his mother at his own expense.

The decision follows a dispute over a will left by Kirsty’s mother, Irma Barnett.

Her will stated that Hepple, now 84, should be allowed to live in the family home for the rest of her life after her death.

According to Kirsty, Ms. Barnett wrote the will in 2000 but died of dementia in 2013 at the age of 81 and was unaware of the abuse.

After her mother’s death, Easthope went to the police to complain that she sexually abused both herself and her 14-year-old daughter.

Hepple, who had no prior convictions, was sentenced to a suspended sentence in 2014 and placed on the sex offenders list.

In 2017, he was thrown behind bars for another sexual assault on a woman and her teenage daughter.

But after her release from prison, Hepple insisted on returning to her old family home in York, North York, which led to a court fight.

Ms. Easthope had rented the property while in prison, and Hepple contested her right to return to the detached bungalow when she was released from prison in October 2018.

Kirsty Easthope, who was sexually abused by her mother's partner for ten years, was ordered by the court to pay her £35,000 in damages (Lee McLean/SWNS)

Kirsty Easthope, who was sexually abused by her mother’s partner for ten years, was ordered by the court to pay her £35,000 in damages (Lee McLean/SWNS)

The realtor, Ms. Easthope, refused to let him re-enter and offered him an alternative accommodation of three apartments on the ground floor, which he refused.

Now, after taking the case to Leeds County Court, a judge ruled in Hepple’s favor and Ms Easthope had to evict her tenants.

And after paying Hepple’s £61,000 legal costs and his own £40,000 fee, he faced a total bill of more than £100,000.

Relinquishing her legal right to remain anonymous to talk about her ordeal, Kirsty said, “I don’t see how she could feel shame and want to come back and live in a place where she’s not welcome.

“Throughout all this, I have been a victim, but my suffering has not been compensated for, but it has had disastrous financial consequences and my mental health has suffered tremendously.

“I felt so devastated and hopeless that sometimes I felt that life was not worth living.

Irma Barnett and husband Arthur Hepple (Courtesy of Kirsty Easthope/SWNS)

Irma Barnett and husband Arthur Hepple (Courtesy of Kirsty Easthope/SWNS)

“Without remorse for the crimes he committed, including the mental and physical suffering he caused me and my daughter, he decided to take me to court.

“I was completely depressed, unable to sleep and eat.

“I fully believe that if my mother had known about Hepple’s actions, she would have changed her will and kicked her out of her house.”

Easthope said her mother began developing dementia in 2003 and did not have the ability to understand and change her will before she died in 2013.

When Hepple was accused of sexual crimes for the second time, she said she was arrested and then served two years and three months in prison.

The property was left vacant and was advised by lawyers to rent it.

He said that when he got out of prison, lawyers advised him not to let him go to prison and to offer him a suitable alternative accommodation.

He was offered three times, but he refused every offer and insisted that he return to the property he owned.

After nearly three years of fighting for the house, Ms. Easthope now has to repay her debt to Hepple, which she says has caused her to take medication for her mental health.

Irma Barnett was unaware that her husband Arthur Hepple sexually abused her daughter (Courtesy of Kirsty Easthope / SWNS)

Irma Barnett was unaware that her husband Arthur Hepple sexually abused her daughter (Courtesy of Kirsty Easthope / SWNS)

Kirsty of the North Yorks, York said: “I was devastated and absolutely inconsolable and just distressed.

“I had to take medication for my mental health because I was at the doctors between Christmas and New Year’s and I was perfectly fine.

“It’s all just devastating.”

“He just wants to hurt me as much as possible.”

Tragically, Hepple first began attacking Easthope in 2003 after her mother was diagnosed with dementia, so she never knew her own daughter was being abused.

Mrs Easthope never reported her because she feared that the police would not take her seriously and thought that if she tried, they would ‘pull her out of the building laughing’.

However, Hepple later broke into Easthope’s home in 2013 and sneaked up on her daughter as she was getting out of the shower and tried to pull the towel off her.

He said: “At first I was shocked and embarrassed and felt like an idiot.

“I felt it wasn’t a police matter because they would have me out of the building laughing.

“So I would tell her to stop because that was wrong and she saw me as her daughter.

“I always hoped this would be the end, but he was so persistent.”

“But when he did this to my daughter, I couldn’t let him live in fear like I did.”

Easthope’s fathers Alan Barnett and Irma bought the three-bedroom property in 1983, but Alan died in 1996 at the age of 71.

Irma later met Hepple through her friends and introduced her to Miss Easthope in 1998 before moving to the bungalow in 1999.

Ms. Easthope said that her mother and Hepple are a normal couple and they often go on vacations and out to dinner together.

Kirsty Easthope says her abuser is devastated to be allowed to live in the home he inherited from his mother (Lee McLean/SWNS)

Kirsty Easthope says her abuser is devastated to be allowed to live in the home he inherited from his mother (Lee McLean/SWNS)

Ms. Easthope said, “I don’t know what gives these bad guys the gift of long life.

“My father died and he never saw his grandchildren grow up, but he was a very good man.

“He has worked hard all his life and has never struggled so much with his all-weather bike to get to work to maintain a nice home.

“He hated pedophiles, and after all he’s worked for, now one of them lives here, and that’s wrong.”

Family and friends of the mother-of-three rallied around her, and they even set up a Go Fund Me page to help Ms. Easthope raise the money she needed.

He said: “It was incredible when it was set up because I wouldn’t even have thought of it myself.

“Honestly I had given up all hope and when it was set up I started to feel a little more positive again.

“I thought what if there was a light at the end of the tunnel and I could collect the money as soon as they wanted it.

“How could you get so much money?”

You can donate to the fundraising page here.

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