I have changed the names of all the innocent people to protect them.
The particular shop I worked in was a concessions store, meaning it was a small outlet housed inside a bigger department store. As such, we were never really all that busy. So the other staff and I would often just play Guitar Hero or PSP.
I made many good friends there who I’m still friends with today and I really enjoyed the job, however – there was this one guy called Paul.
Paul was of average height, pudgy, buzzcut dark hair and he wore basic wire framed NHS glasses.
At first he came across as a little bit weird, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Over the weeks, his wife Mindy and their young son Alec would come into the store to say ‘Hi’ occasionally.
For some reason this made me think maybe he wasn’t so weird, as she was very pleasant and dare I say “normal”.
Their son Alec was a little “boisterous” however… that is putting it mildly.
He once came in dressed as Spider-Man and threatened to “drop” my co-worker Brian, proceeding to headbutt him right in the groin! Which Paul found hilarious and I’ll admit yes, it was fairly funny.
As time went on, all the members of staff would stay in touch outside of work via MSN Messenger, this is how my girlfriend Emma got talking to Mindy, as I would just leave messenger open on the computer and she would answer people who popped up “ He isn’t home right now”, “He can’t join your raid on Warcraft” etc etc.
Anyway, Paul had obviously done the same on his computer and this is how the two women became acquainted.
This is when things really did start to look – dodgy.
The things Mindy would tell Emma about how Paul would treat her, he would never do any housework or help with their son, he would leave bowls and cups littered around his computer desk where he spent the majority of his time when he wasn’t at work, oh and when it came to work he would insist our manager only give him sixteen hours a week, on the dot, no more no less – this was the minimum amount of hours you need to work in the UK to be eligible for tax credits (a sort of welfare benefit for low income workers) – so yeah, he was lazy.
Not only that, but he was borderline abusive to Mindy, he would talk down to and belittle her, like, he’d refuse to eat any other ice cream apart from this one particular brand of cherry ripple – but he didn’t like the pieces of cherry in it so *sigh*, he made her pick the pieces of cherry out before serving it to him.
As time went by Mindy would tell Emma more obscene incidents that had occurred, such as when they had left Mindy’s fourteen year old sister, Sally, babysitting Alec when they went out one evening and she stayed there overnight once they returned home.
When Sally woke up in the morning after sleeping on the couch she found had a strange, dried, whiteish substance sticking to her hair and face… yeah.
Not only that, but she couldn’t find a pair of knickers she had bought with her to change into… and later that day she received photos to her phone of the lost knickers, sent from Paul’s phone! they were full of – well I’m pretty sure you can guess.
I was disgusted, and Emma told Mindy to get her sister to take the photos to the police immediately – but apparently they had all been deleted already.
How Mindy was able to brush this off I don’t know, maybe it was denial.
I confronted Paul and he laughed it off claiming it was a “joke” ugh… I should have done something then… but from then on I would watch him very closely.
I noticed him staring at the schoolgirls who would enter the store, I’d notice him fidgeting with himself while awkwardly staring at these girls and following them around the store – until our manager would order him to get back to work.
It came to a head one day when Mindy discovered she was pregnant. Paul FLIPPED. He told Mindy to get an abortion because in his words: “he wasn’t ready to be a Dad” even though he already WAS a dad! It was insane!.
Eventually Mindy had the baby, another little boy, and the whole family moved out of the city to a town about 70 miles down south.
I quit working at Game shortly after to start a new full time job. I was pleased to see the back of that absolute creep.
Mindy and Emma did keep in touch though, and from what she told me things did not improve… at all.
On their eldest son’s birthday Paul apparently woke up and declared that he was leaving Mindy for one of her best friends, a woman called Debbie.
Debbie had been friends with Paul and Mindy for many years and had a young daughter, Sarah.
Mindy said she suspected that Paul was in actual fact Sarah’s biological father, (despite Debbie denying this profusely) because of how weirdly close Paul was to her.
He gave her so much more attention than his own sons, which upset them greatly.
When Emma relayed this information to me, she said it with a concerned tone… I looked at her with the same concern…. as if we both were thinking the same thing.
We told Mindy our fears, and that she should warn Debbie and tell her Paul’s past! I don’t know whether she did and Debbie ignored her or what because she didn’t speak to us again after that… maybe she was offended? I don’t know.
It wasn’t until the beginning of 2016 that another old member of the Game staff who we still occasionally spoke to sent Emma a link on Facebook, and when she opened it the colour drained from her face. She handed me her phone saying “Remember creepy Paul from Game?” “Yeah” I replied… well, you want to read this. It was a newspaper report and the headline read:
“Schoolgirl rapist caged for 14 years”
The article didn’t mention the girl’s name for legal reasons, but we knew it was Sarah… Paul was NOT her biological father, he wasn’t super close to her because she was his daughter – he was close to her because he was GROOMING her! All the dates and ages added up with what we knew already.
That sick bastard had been sexually abusing that poor girl over a period of four years from the time she was eight to the age of 12.
He was never interested in Debbie… he was interested in her child! He didn’t even deny it, pleading guilty to everything.
I was absolutely disgusted, horrified, repulsed- but sadly… I was not surprised. Ugh… the signs were there, yet I didn’t do anything, NOBODY did anything.
This guy would come on staff nights out with us, I had played Warcraft for hours with this creep… at one point I’d even allowed him into my home!
That poor girl. I guess this goes to show how close true evil can actually get to you, walk amongst you and work alongside you… I hope he rots in prison, rotting would be too good for him in fact and in my opinion 14 years is nowhere near long enough.
I pray that Sarah can live the rest of her life without any lasting trauma, though something tells me that’s a naive thought.
Part of me will always blame myself for not doing anything when I knew what a disgusting creep he was….the worst kind of monster, disguised as your average retail worker.