A woman ordered a man who sexually abused her to live in her family home

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

Kirsty Easthope, 52, was also asked by a judge to pay her and convicted serial sex offender Arthur Hepple’s legal fees, which are estimated to be around £100,000.

She was ordered to furnish a £300,000 bungalow she had inherited from her mother at her own expense.

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

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

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

Mrs Easthope went to the police after her mother died to complain that he had sexually abused her and her then 14-year-old daughter.

Hepple, who had no previous criminal record, was given a suspended prison sentence in 2014 and entered on the sex offenders register.

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

But after being released from prison, Hepple insisted on returning to his former York family home in the North Yorks, prompting a court battle.

Mrs Easthope rented the property while he was in prison, and Hepple challenged his right to return to the detached bungalow when he was released from prison in October 2018.

Kirsty Easthope, who was sexually abused by her mother's partner for a decade, has been ordered by court to pay him £35,000 in damages (Lee McLean/SWNS)

Kirsty Easthope, who was sexually abused by her mother’s partner for a decade, has been ordered by court to pay him £35,000 in damages (Lee McLean/SWNS)

The estate agent, Mrs. Easthope, would not allow him to re-enter and offered him alternative accommodation in three ground-floor flats, which he refused.

Now, after he brought the case to Leeds County Court, the judge ruled in favor of Hepple and Mrs. Easthope had to evict her tenants.

After paying Hepple’s £61,000 legal costs and her own £40,000 fees, she faces a total bill of over £100,000.

Kirsty, who waived her right to anonymity to speak about her ordeal, said: “I don’t understand how he is not ashamed and how he can want to go back and live where he is not welcome.

“I was a victim all this time, but there was no compensation for my suffering, but catastrophic financial consequences and my mental health suffered tremendously.

“I felt so devastated and hopeless that at times I felt life wasn’t worth living.

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

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

“Without remorse for his crimes, including the mental and physical anguish he put me and my daughter at risk, he decided to take me to court.

“I was completely depressed, couldn’t sleep or eat.

“If my mother had known about Hepple’s actions, I completely believe she would have changed her will and removed him from her home.”

Ms Easthope said her mother started developing dementia in 2003 and was no longer able to understand and change her will before her death in 2013.

She said that when Hepple was charged with a second set of sex crimes, he was remanded in custody and later sentenced to two years and three months in prison.

The property was left empty, and lawyers advised her to let it.

She said that when she got out of prison, solicitors also advised her not to allow him to enter the prison, but to offer suitable alternative accommodation.

He was offered it three times, but he turned down each offer, insisting that he return to the property she owned.

After nearly three years of fighting for the house, Mrs Easthope now has to pay back Hepple, who she said prompted her to take medication for her mental health.

Irma Barnett had no idea her husband Arthur Hepple sexually abused her daughter (courtesy of Kirsty Easthope/SWNS)

Irma Barnett had no idea her husband Arthur Hepple sexually abused her daughter (courtesy of Kirsty Easthope/SWNS)

Kirsty, from York at North Yorks, said: “I was devastated, completely inconsolable and just plain depressed.

“I had to get medication for my mental health because between Christmas and New Years because I was at the doctors and I was just fine.

“It’s all just devastating.”

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

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

Mrs Easthope never reported him because she feared the police would not take her seriously and thought they would “laugh her out of the building” if she tried.

But Hepple broke into Mrs Easthope’s home in 2013 and attacked her daughter, sneaking up on her as she was getting out of the shower and trying to get the towel off her.

She said: “At first I was shocked and embarrassed and felt stupid.

“I felt it wasn’t a police issue because they would just laugh me out of the building.

“So I’d just tell him to stop because it’s wrong and because he thinks of me as his daughter.

“I always hoped it would be the last time, but he was so stubborn.”

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

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

Irma then met Hepple through friends and introduced him to Mrs. Easthope in 1998 before moving into the bungalow in 1999.

Mrs Easthope said her mum and Hepple were a normal couple and often went on holidays and meals together.

Kirsty Easthope says she's devastated her abuser will be allowed to live in the house she inherited from her mother (Lee McLean/SWNS)

Kirsty Easthope says she’s devastated her abuser will be allowed to live in the house she inherited from her mother (Lee McLean/SWNS)

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

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

“He has worked hard all his life and not ridden, so he struggled to bike in any weather to get to work to ensure a nice home.

“He hated pedophiles and now one lives in him after all he’s worked for and that’s just plain wrong.”

Family and friends of the mum of three have rallied around her and even set up a Go Fund Me page to help Mrs Easthope raise the money she needs.

She said: “It was amazing when it was set up because I wouldn’t have thought of it myself.

“I lost all hope of being honest, and once that was set, I just started feeling a little more positive again.

“I just thought what if there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that I could raise the money because they want it ASAP.

“How the hell do you just get that amount of money?”

You can donate to the collection page here.

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