Northern Ireland news

Daughters of former rugby player speak out about 'real' David Tweed

David Tweed. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

FIVE daughters of former former Ireland rugby international David Tweed have joined forces to condemn the man they called the "Tweedophile".

Mr Tweed, who once served as a DUP and TUV councillor in Ballymena, died in a motorbike accident in Co Antrim last month.

In 2012, he was sentenced to eight years for child sex abuse but his convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in October 2016.

His daughters, ranging in age from 22 to 41, told yesterday's Sunday World they wanted to speak out as many people believed their father was a pillar of the community.

Three of them, Amanda, Catherine and Vicky, met with a reporter from the paper to produce a Crime World podcast about their father.

"We wanted to set the record straight. This man was much more than a sporting hero and a loyal DUP and TUV politician. He was a predatory paedophile and a violent thug who smashed our mother's face to a pulp," stepdaughter Amanda Brown said.

She said she was sexually abused by him from around the age of eight and that he physically threatened her not to tell anyone.

She thought that when her siblings came along and she changed her name to Tweed, the abuse would stop.

"But I was wrong. Nothing changed," she added. "We just branded him the 'Tweedophile'. I can see why people thought he was a great man. It was his charm and public persona which allowed him to get away with it for so long."

Victoria Tweed (26) said she hoped that by speaking out, she and her sisters would encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

"I know it's unusual for so many victims to speak out at the same time. But as a family we stuck together and we all give each other strength when we needed it."

She described her father as a "monster" saying, "the person who was supposed to be my protector was coming into my bedroom every night to abuse me".

Catherine Tweed (29) said that by doing the podcast they will "leave a permanent record about the real Davy Tweed".

Youngest daughter Jaimee-Lee Tweed (22) said she could recall feeling afraid of her father's temper and still has nightmares of him beating her mother.

Lorraine Tweed (36) said her father abused her sexually, emotionally and physically as a child, adding, "He put me through hell."

"We grew up not knowing each of us had been abused. Each of us believed we were the only ones suffering. We kept secrets out of fear."

She said she had developed a severe mental illness which she still struggles with.

"I am still haunted by these memories. I still have nightmares about the abuse. The words he used to break me down are still stuck with me," she said.

"His death brought me nothing more than being able to release the fear that he would some day kill us."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news