Say what? Allow me to explain. A seemingly ordinary family, the Jaggers (no, not Mick and company), had some seriously sick skeletons in their proverbial closet. Victoria Jaggers was born in Tilbury, Essex, England. She was the youngest of four siblings. She remembered a happy childhood. Her half-brother David, her mother Averil’s son from a previous relationship was her best friend. She adored her brother. They were close and spent hours playing together. “He cuddled her to pieces….and he was a happy kid,” Averil recalled. At some point however David began showing a dark side. At school he got into many fights with his peers. He got involved in criminal activities. David and his friends stole a car when he was 15. David used a rifle to shoot at people instead of the animals he’d told his mother. Deciding a change of venue was in order, the Jaggers began moving around often. They worked in pubs, the family living in small apartments above the bars. Although this arrangement worked for Len and Averil, it caused more problems for their children. David didn’t have the chance to build friendships. He had no stability. His criminal background and anti-social traits were a dangerous cocktail for sexual offences. Clearly, David’s behaviour developed somewhere along the line through his parenting and general environment. Although they were pleasant, social people (with the exception of David), clearly the Jaggers were a deeply dysfunctional family Unable to deal with his crimes, his parents looked the other way. It was a mistake they would regret years later.
For her part, Vicky had no teachers or friends to whom she could turn when David’s incestuous abuse began. In fact, the lack of people in her life increased her reliance upon David for emotional bonding. At 12, Vicky’s childhood was utterly destroyed. One night the brother she trusted more than anyone in the world, entered her bedroom. He climbed into bed with her and raped her. Even today, Vicky cannot bring herself to admit David raped her. “He did what he did and left and then I just lay there crying all night.” The following morning was bizarre. Vicky joined her brother and mother in the kitchen. David scarcely glanced at her and Averil busied herself making breakfast. In the light of day, the little girl questioned her own sanity. Had David really raped her the night before? Everyone acted normal. She wondered if what had happened to her the night before had really happened.
“I didn’t know if this was normal. I’d been in the pubs moving around so I didn’t have any friends. So I didn’t know what their families were like,” Vicky explained years later. “So I just thought it was normal.” The way David looked at her however, had an implied, non-verbal message, “you won’t talk.” A psychologist who studied the case stated that in order for David to have sexually assaulted his younger sister, he must have been exposed to sex in some manner be it pornography, sex in the household, or some other venue. Ted Bundy, the poster boy for serial murderer claimed that his crimes were highly influenced by his exposure to violent pornography when he was only 12. Perhaps there was some truth to his testimony.
The following night, David raped the little girl again. Another rape happened the night after. After 3 rapes, Vicky couldn’t take it anymore. She refused to sleep in that particular room again but she wouldn’t explain the reason to her parents. At 12, Vicky Jaggers discovered she was pregnant with David’s baby. “I was scared, very scared.” Vicky gathered up her courage and told her mother and father she was pregnant. She told her parents it was “a boy at school.” One day Averil would admit that she didn’t believe her daughter and thought David was the real culprit. The police became involved and Vicky changed her story, stating he was someone “on the road“. The police asked Averil if Len could be the father. They didn’t believe little Vicky’s story for a second. As soon as Vicky became pregnant and told her family, David moved out but Averil appeared not to make a connection between her angry son and her daughter’s pregnancy.
Vicky gave birth to a beautiful baby girl she named Kirsty. Averil opted to raise little Kirsty although she was honest with her about her mother’s identity. Len and Averil uprooted Vicky once again and sent her to a boarding school. Having got away with the rapes of Vicky, David sought out people with vulnerability and confidently became involved with Helen Mitchell, a single mother with two children. Soon after they met, he moved in with her and began beating her. One night while having dinner with David’s family he shouted at Helen, “shut your mouth! I don’t want to see what you’re eating!” Occasionally Helen threw him out but she always took him back. Finally Helen contacted her sister Sheila who hurried to her apartment. She found David with a silver case filled with knives. “Before you put that knife into Helen, you’re going to have to put it in me first!” Sheila warned him. David put the knife away. Sheila gathered her sister and her sister’s children and left. Yet somehow, two weeks later David murdered Helen Mitchell by strangling her “to death with his bare hands”. That same night, David raped Helen’s younger sister who was only 14. David stressed so much that he told Averil about the rape and murder. Horrified, Averil made the most difficult telephone call of her life and contacted police. David pled guilty to manslaughter and received 6 years in penitentiary.
Knowing she would be safe with her brother in jail, Vicky returned home from boarding school and began building her relationship with Kirsty. But the happy times for this family came to an abrupt end when Len died of cancer and David got early release from prison. Suddenly David was back in Vicky’s life. Without warning David strangled Vicky until she turned blue. Vicky cut David out of her life, marrying a man named Kelly and having four more children. Over the following decade she had no contact with David. 18 years flew by and David the loser had to move back in with mummy because “he’d lost his flat,” something that seems to happen quite often to serial rapists. David contributed nothing to Aveil’s household and spent most of his days using his computer. Vicky’s teenage daughters often visited their grandmother and it was now that Vicky confronted her brother, screaming at him and attacking him physically. After Vicky had lashed out at him, David felt his control dissolve. Upstairs, he muttered to Averil “they’re all going to hate me! They’re going to rape me!” Confused Averil asked David what he meant. David fled and went on the run.
At home Vicky felt safe enough to tell her husband what David had done to her 18 years before. “It was so harrowing. It was unbelievable,” Kelly stated. Vicky wept, “it’s him! It’s him!” over and over. “David’s the one! David’s her dad! David was the one who raped me when I was 12.” Kelly approached Averil and delivered the sad news. “It didn’t seem surprising. It was as if somehow I knew,” Averil confessed. Just as devastating as the rape had been, Averil’s passive response, that is, her refusal to protect her daughter 18 years earlier, is equally repugnant. How any mother can ignore obvious signs of incest between her daughter and another family member is mind-boggling.
But Vicky’s trauma was far from over. She was forced to make a statement to police in order to have him arrested. Detective Sergeant Tracy Wheeler from the Essex police stated, “The release, the catharsis, was unbelievable. She just sobbed and sobbed. And when I first met her it was like walking into a room with a 12-year-old girl again. She became that little girl it had happened to all those years ago.” During the interview, David was arrested elsewhere during a siege where, not surprisingly, he took a woman hostage, much like he’d done to Vicky years before. David pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Wheeler claimed David was “a very damaged individual. What damaged him or who damaged him I don’t know.” He visited that damage upon his poor sister, Heather Mitchell and her young sister. He took lives and almost decimated others. However in that regard he didn’t succeed. Ironically Vicky’s anchor is Kirsty, David’s daughter. Having a family is what has saved her. That, and her courage to break the cycle of abuse.