Ray Teret’s abuse has affected everything about my life, says victim

Cathy Hymas, who has waived her anonymity, was 12 when she met Teret and the sexual abuse began soon afterwards
Cathy Hymas
Cathy Hymas says the guilty verdicts means she can move on after 40 years. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guar
Cathy Hymas was 12 when she first met Ray Teret. A vulnerable girl from an unhappy home, music was her escape from a miserable reality. So when Teret opened Music Power, a record shop around the corner from her house in Sale, Greater Manchester, she quickly became a regular fixture. Teret gave her a part-time job sorting the records out, and soon invited her up to his flat above the shop.
“I thought he was a very kind man,” she says now, 54 and a counsellor in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. “He invited me to go up to his flat to listen to some more music. He said he had loads more music up there … He made me feel very clever. He listened to my opinions, which no one else ever did. He used to play a couple of bars of demo records and used to say: ‘Right, do you think this is going to be a hit?’”
Cathy spent so much time at the shop and in Teret’s flat that she “practically lived here”, she says. It wasn’t long before the abuse began. It started with inappropriate touching and progressed to full sex: rape. Sometimes she told him no, but he just laughed. Teret knew she was only 12 or 13. “I was flat-chested – I was a kid. I was a bit of a tomboy, a bit of a scruff,” she says. “I’d never even kissed a boy.” She didn’t tell anyone. “Part of me knew it was wrong. Part of me knew I would be in a hell of a lot of trouble if anybody ever found out that I was there. My dad would have killed me.” Cathy’s late father also sexually abused her when she was 14. She told Teret, whose response was that it sounded “kinky”, deterring her from reporting the abuse at the time.
Teret made her feel like she was in the wrong when she said she didn’t like what he was doing. “If something hurt, he’d say: ‘No it doesn’t, you love it.’ I began to doubt my own truth.”
During his trial, Teret had the brass neck to claim there was no flat above the shop, only a warehouse. Yet she was able to describe in precise detail how it was decorated – descriptions corroborated by other women he abused in the same location.
Two of those women independently contacted police following the Jimmy Savile scandal. Teret had asked her to bring other girls to the shop, which she did – a source of immense guilt for her now. “He offered me records if I brought them around,” she says. “The people I used to mix with were very vulnerable in their own right. People that I did take round were a bit like me. They had things going on at home too.
“That’s probably the thing I’m most ashamed of, that’s what I’ve had to live with, that I took other girls round,” she says. “I guess on some level I knew they would get involved.”
Teret never hid his coterie of prepubescent girls. “I got to go on Piccadilly Radio, me and my friend – we did our top 10,” recalls Cathy. “But we didn’t go to any of his discos because we were too young. I had to be in at night.” She described the schoolgirls at the shop as being “like a community”. They enjoyed spending time with Teret, a minor local celebrity with famous friends. Cathy remembers once answering his phone to Savile, though she never met him. “I thought it was somebody joking at first. He got quite haughty.” Teret told her which other famous men were into “schoolies”, she says: “He told me that Jimmy Savile liked little girls. He was very matter-of-fact about it.”
The abuse stopped by the time Cathy was 16 but has cast a shadow over her life ever since. She became pregnant shortly afterwards – not by Teret – and gave birth to the first of her four children. “It’s affected everything about my life. I’ve hated myself. I felt used, worthless … I had to hide so much from people. There’s so much about my life that I have not been able to tell. It’s affected relationships. It’s affected when I’ve had to go to the doctor for medical examinations. It’s pure panic sometimes. I have trust issues. Going to the dentist brings flashbacks sometimes. Just constant anxiety. The anger. So much anger. I have just felt that I don’t belong anywhere. I have never belonged.”
She says she first tried to report Teret around 20 years ago, telling a counsellor and then various councils in Greater Manchester – first Rochdale and then Trafford. But she says no one listened. When news of Savile’s prolific offending emerged after his death in 2011, she rang Crimestoppers, the anonymous phoneline. Originally she just wanted to back up other women by saying she knew Savile was a paedophile. But she ended up giving a statement about what Teret did to her. “It was the first time in my life that somebody has ever known everything about me.” She praises Greater Manchester police for supporting her throughout the long and painful process. “People might think they will be judged if they come forward, but I was shown nothing but respect.”
Giving evidence in court was an ordeal. She was due to testify via videolink but at the last minute decided to go into the witness box, a shield protecting her from the men in the dock. “It was hell on Earth,” she says. “But I just knew that I wasn’t lying so there was nothing they could do to me.” She decided to relinquish her right to anonymity “because I have done nothing wrong. I’ve got nothing to hide. . I have done nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the abusers who should be ashamed. I hope they are all quaking in their boots right now.”
Teret was found guilty of one count of raping Cathy and two counts of indecent assault. The guilty verdicts means she can finally move on after 40 years. “It frees me,” she said.

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