A per­vert calls

What TV man re­ally wanted…

Real People - - CONTENT -

Cold call­ers, Je­ho­vah’s Wit­nesses, peo­ple flog­ging tea tow­els…

Some vis­i­tors you just don’t think twice about. ‘Who is it?’ I called down the stairs, hear­ing Mum open the front door.

Af­ter my par­ents had split in 2003, me and my mum, Tracey, 33, had moved to Rush­den, Northamp­ton­shire, from Le­ices­ter.

Mum saw some bloke for a bit, and ended up preg­nant with my lit­tle brother.

Now, three years later, it was just the three of us, and our lit­tle maisonette hardly saw any call­ers. Mum never let strangers in. So my ears pricked up at the sound of heavy foot­steps com­ing in­side.

Cu­ri­ous, I put down my Polly Pocket to listen. Mum­bled chat­ter. Then, Mum shouted back, ‘TV li­cens­ing.’

I didn’t know what that meant, but knew it was noth­ing an eight-yearold girl would be in­ter­ested in. So I went back to my toys.

One day soon af­ter, though, I heard those steps again.

‘This is Dan,’

Mum smiled. ‘The guy that came to see we were pay­ing for the TV.’

Be­fore I had a sec­ond to think, Dan Lish­man said the magic words, ‘Do you want to play hide and seek?’

Talk about bril­liant! Mum was al­ways too busy cook­ing and cleaning to play. Nor­mally, I had to beg her. But this guy was so up for it. He even let me and my brother do all the hid­ing!

I’d crouch in the in-built cup­board in my bed­room, rocking and gig­gling in the dark, as I waited for Dan to find me. Mum seemed happy, too. Af­ter school, I’d pull my brother onto the win­dowsill and sit watch­ing for Dan’s black es­tate car.

Some­times, he’d turn up. Other times, he wouldn’t.

I fig­ured it was to do with his work check­ing peo­ple’s TVS. It sounded pretty im­por­tant. Some­times, though, I’d worry. What if he’d found other boys and girls to play with?

But Dan never let us down. One night, about a month af­ter I’d met Dan, he turned up extra-late. Af­ter just a few games of tag in the liv­ing room, it was al­ready past my bed­time.

‘Come on. You’ve got school tomorrow,’ Mum said.

‘Right, you take the lit­tle ’un, and I’ll put this one to bed,’ Dan smiled.

Ex­cited, I rushed up­stairs and changed into my pink nightie with Win­nie-the-pooh on.

Min­utes later, Dan walked in hold­ing a Mr Men book from my col­lec­tion.

‘I love those,’ I chat­ted hap­pily, climb­ing un­der my pink fairy du­vet.

Dan perched on the edge of my bed as he read. At some point, his hand worked be­neath the du­vet and be­gan stroking my thigh.

‘Must be time to sleep,’

I guessed, think­ing he was try­ing to soothe me.

But, as I snug­gled down, Dan’s hand worked its way up my leg, un­der my knick­ers. As his rough fin­gers groped at my del­i­cate skin, I stared at the walls.

Mum had told me to watch out for strangers; weird men try­ing to lure me into the back of their vans.

Dan wasn’t that.

He was a friend.

So this must be what friends did. Ly­ing still, I let my­self feel numb un­til he climbed to his feet.

‘Don’t tell any­one else, your mum will be an­gry,’ he grunted. An­gry with me?

I didn’t want that. Con­fused, I pushed the whole thing to the back of my mind. It wasn’t like Dan had changed. The next time we saw him, he played tag with us just like he al­ways had.

He smiled like nor­mal and made us gig­gle.

So, a few weeks later, when Dan called me into the bath­room,

I went hap­pily.

‘What’s wrong?’

I asked.

His back was to me, he was fum­bling around with some­thing.

‘My belt’s stuck… ’ he mum­bled.

Mum told me to watch out for weird men

It wasn’t friend­ship. It was abuse!

Sud­denly, he grabbed my hand and pulled it towards him.

My fin­gers brushed the spongy flesh pok­ing out from his jeans.

Shocked, I pulled my hand away from him.

I ran down­stairs, and Dan made his ex­cuses and left soon af­ter.

Af­ter that, we never saw Dan again.

We car­ried on waited by the win­dow for a while. Then, we all moved on.

Mum never said why he’d gone. Some­times, I’d think back on that time in the bath­room.

Had I made him an­gry like he said Mum would be?

It wasn’t un­til I started se­condary school and had sex ed­u­ca­tion that I found out what had hap­pened had a name, and it cer­tainly wasn’t friend­ship.

It was abuse!

Sick with the re­al­i­sa­tion, I couldn’t stop re­play­ing what had hap­pened in my head.

I only re­mem­bered two in­stances of Dan’s abuse. But what if there were more? Tor­tured, I was des­per­ate to share my burden. But Dan’s warn­ing rang in my ears.

So, in­stead of telling Mum, I went to my cousin’s flat in the same tower block as ours af­ter school one day.

He was in his early 20s – he’d know what to do.

As he bus­ied him­self cook­ing, I perched on the edge of a chair nearby, and mum­bled, ‘I need to tell you some­thing.’

He barely looked up.

‘Oh, yeah?’

I forced the words out of my mouth be­fore I could stop them. ‘Dan abused me.’

My cousin froze.

In sec­onds, he’d run up the stair­well and told Mum. Min­utes later, she ran to find me.

My body tight­ened ready for the blow.

This was it. She’d shout at me and throw me out.

‘Oh, love, you’ve done noth­ing wrong,’ she sobbed, wrap­ping me in her arms.

That night, the po­lice came round.

At one point, an of­fi­cer ex­cused him­self for a ra­dio call.

When he re­turned, he smiled at Mum and said, ‘Don’t worry. He’s al­ready been ar­rested.’

‘That was quick!’ Mum gasped.

‘There were other al­le­ga­tions,’ he ad­mit­ted.

By then, aged 12, I knew what he meant.

Dan had been abus­ing other chil­dren, too.

That night, Mum held me as we stared blankly at the TV late into the night.

There was noth­ing on, but nei­ther of us wanted to be alone.

Be­tween shows, a Crime­watch up­date popped onto the screen, fea­tur­ing an ar­ray of e-fits.

I’d watched the show with Mum be­fore.

Nor­mally, the pic­tures looked like Mr Potato Heads – all dodgy ears and mis­matched eyes.

One of them was spot on, though.

Those same eyes – eyes that had once seemed so kind…

Mum stiff­ened.

I sat up.

‘That’s Dan,’ she mum­bled. The pre­sen­ter ex­plained the man was wanted for the rape of a 12-year-old girl in an air­ing cup­board. They mustn’t have known he’d al­ready been caught.

He’d tricked his way into the girl’s house pre­tend­ing to be a gas man com­ing round to check the boiler.

He’d moved on from be­ing the telly man. But it was the same ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Days later, I went to The Seren­ity Unit in Northamp­ton. There, kind peo­ple talked me through what had hap­pened for a video state­ment.

A few months on, Mum started go­ing to court ev­ery day.

When I asked, she’d tell me lit­tle bits of in­for­ma­tion.

There was no point hid­ing the truth…

I’d grown up now. All too soon.

So Mum told me how Dan had once been a po­lice of­fi­cer, serv­ing as a spe­cial constable and a po­lice constable.

In fact, he’d only been forced out of the po­lice four years be­fore we’d met him be­cause of al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against him.

But he’d gone on to get other jobs that al­lowed him into peo­ple’s homes.

He was a mo­bile dog groomer. Then, of course, the TV li­cens­ing man.

He knew peo­ple would let him in.

Then he could worm his way into their lives, their fam­i­lies.

He’d even faked other jobs, like pre­tend­ing to be the gas man and a plumber.

One day, in Jan­uary 2011, Mum came to pick me up from my aunt’s with a big smile on her face.

‘He’s got life,’ she choked. At Coven­try Crown Court, Daniel Lish­man, 37, was con­victed of 26 of­fences, and asked for four oth­ers to be taken into ac­count.

This in­cluded one count of rape and 12 of sex­ual as­sault.

He’d also been found with a huge stash of sick­en­ing child porn.

He had hurt so many peo­ple. As well as what he’d done to me, Lish­man had abused girls be­tween the age of eight and 14, two young boys and a woman in her 20s.

Three of the child vic­tims were dis­abled.

Judge Peter Carr told Lish­man, ‘About 10 years or so ago, you be­gan what can only be de­scribed as sys­tem­atic sex­ual abuse of your vic­tims, who were, in the main, very young chil­dren.’

He called him, ‘Ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare… cun­ning, de­vi­ous and ex­tremely plau­si­ble.’

But the man who’d worn so many faces didn’t show any emo­tion as he was jailed.

Out­side court, a po­lice of­fi­cer from Northamp­ton­shire Po­lice said, ‘Over the years, Daniel Lish­man sought the com­pany and at­ten­tion of chil­dren, and put him­self in a po­si­tion of trust.’

He added that Lish­man ‘en­joyed be­ing in author­ity.

He got plea­sure from be­ing taken into peo­ple’s con­fi­dence and be­ing able to abuse chil­dren’.

I imag­ined he’d be locked up for ever.

But life, I later learned, meant a min­i­mum of 10 years.

Aged just 13, I went into ther­apy. Still I strug­gled.

I had fierce night­mares. When I left school, I had to give up my shop job as

I was ter­ri­fied ev­ery cus­tomer was him com­ing back for me. He’d had so many dis­guises. I found my­self ter­ri­fied of men. Even a sim­ple hug from a friend could leave me sick­ened.

I hated open­ing my front door, and couldn’t trust peo­ple in po­si­tions of re­spon­si­bil­ity. I’d run to my room if some­one un­ex­pected called. It took years of hard work and in­tense ther­apy to get my life to­gether.

Now, I’m in a good place. I feel strong.

I’ve got an in­cred­i­ble part­ner of a year, who sup­ports me, and Mum and me are the best of friends. But in just two years, Lish­man will be able to ap­ply for pa­role.

I’m ter­ri­fied.

The thought of him be­ing free will be ab­so­lute tor­ture for me. That’s why I want to get this evil man’s face out there.

I’m sure he has more vic­tims. In fact, when the po­lice had ar­rested him, they’d found a mem­ory card in his sock.

On it were pic­tures of him abus­ing an eight-year-old child blinded by a pair of taped-up gog­gles in the back of his van.

An an­i­mal like that must have tar­geted even more in­no­cent chil­dren.

I know it’s not easy com­ing for­ward but, if you’ve been hurt by this man, please con­tact the po­lice. You will be be­lieved.

We were de­fence­less chil­dren when evil came knock­ing.

To­gether, we can make sure the door is locked on this mon­ster for ever.

Amy Han­nah, 20, Rush­den, Northamp­ton­shire

I thought Dan was my friend, but he turned out to be a pae­dophile

He posed as a TV li­cens­ing man to get into my home

My in­no­cence was stolen I only un­der­stood what hap­pened to me when I was older

Lish­man was given a life sen­tence, as the judge dubbed him a par­ent’s night­mare

The for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer wore many faces, in­clud­ing a dog groomer and plumber

My mum had been my rock through­out my or­deal

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