A woman who waited more than four decades to report that she was raped by her brother between the ages of seven and 11 has told of the pain of being asked to be a bridesmaid at his wedding.
Suzi Holt, 54, from Ely, Cambridgeshire, was abused for years by Ian Martin, 61, who threatened to take her into care if she revealed the truth and bribed her with sweets to keep her quiet.
He was recently found guilty of two counts of rape and sentenced to five years in prison at Cambridge Crown Court.
Now, after years of waiting, Suzi – a care home cook and mother of three – is bravely waiving her right to anonymity to help other survivors, fearing admission would “destroy” her late father.
“I want to show that no matter how much time has passed, you will be believed,” she said.
Now Suzi – a nursing home cook and mother of three – is bravely waiving her right to anonymity to help other survivors
Martin was Suzi’s older half-brother from her mother’s previous relationship.
Because her father worked long hours as a truck driver, the young girl often stayed behind with her siblings while her mother went out with friends.
“I dreaded those nights,” she admitted. “Ian was miserable and moody. I always felt nervous around him.’
The horrific sexual assaults began when Suzi was seven and left her mother Martin to babysit.
While she was watching TV in the living room, he climbed on top of her and raped her.
Suzi was desperate to tell her parents, but Martin scared her by saying that if she told anyone, she would be taken into care.
The abuse took place weekly when her parents were not there – and the young girl had tried to defend herself against her attacker.
“I knew what he did to me was wrong,” she explained.
The horrific sexual assaults began when Suzi was seven years old and left her mother Martin to babysit (Suzi pictured aged nine).
Ian Martin, 61 (pictured), was recently found guilty of two counts of rape and sentenced to five years in prison at Cambridge Crown Court
“Once, when I was eight, I told him that what he was doing to me was indecent and that he shouldn’t do it to me anymore.
“But he threatened me again. I desperately wanted it to stop, but I was afraid of the consequences.”
When Suzi was nine years old, Martin raped her in her great-grandparents’ house while they were playing cards in the next room.
He then gave her some money to spend on sweets.
“It was like he was buying my silence,” she said. ‘I hated him.’
The next year, Martin invited Suzi to go to a motorcycle meetup with him and his friends – but when they arrived in the wasteland, it was deserted.
“He led me to the shore and forced himself on me again,” she said
“I was hoping someone would catch him, but we were protected by trees and hills.”
When Suzi was nine years old, Martin raped her in her great-grandparents’ house while they were playing cards in the next room. Martin pictured aged 13
The years of abuse finally ended when Suzi got her period.
“I told him he couldn’t touch me anymore,” she said. “Luckily he never laid a finger on me again.”
But Suzi had suffered in silence for years, never telling anyone what she had gone through as a child.
When she was 19, Martin met a woman and they got engaged.
Suzi was asked to be a bridesmaid and even though it was the last thing she wanted to do, she agreed just to prevent others from asking questions.
“I was wearing a purple dress and had a happy smile on,” she revealed. “All I wanted was for his family and friends to know what a monster he really was.”
Years passed and Suzi met her husband. In 1997 she finally told him about her past.
“He really supported me and pushed me to go to the police,” she admitted. “But I couldn’t do it when my father was alive. I knew it would destroy him.’
Instead, Suzi found it helpful to open up to her best friends.
It was only a few years ago, in 2018 – after the sad death of her father – that she decided to report Martin.
“I went into the station and gave my statement,” she remembers. “I immediately felt comfortable with the officers.”
The next day, Suzi went to her mother’s house and told her about Martin’s abuse – the older woman was so shocked and horrified that she disowned her son.
In June 2021, Suzi bravely faced him at Cambridge Crown Court to give her statement. Pictured today, 54 years old
He was arrested two weeks later but denied the allegations.
In June 2021, Suzi bravely faced him at Cambridge Crown Court to give her statement.
Martin was found guilty of one count of rape against her, but jurors were undecided on the other counts, meaning there had to be a retrial.
He was released on a label and Suzi was ‘constantly looking over your shoulder for fear of running into him on the street.
Two years later the second trial took place and Suzi experienced the abuse again.
After a three-week trial, Martin was found guilty of another rape.
In June this year he was sentenced to five years in prison and placed on the sex offenders register for life.
“There’s not nearly enough time for what he did to me,” she said.
“But all I ever really wanted was a guilty verdict.
“I am sharing my story to show that no matter how long ago the abuse occurred, you can still get justice.”
“I have waited over 40 years for my life and now I am moving on with my life.”