THE niece of a man accused of being part of a paedophile ring before committing suicide today said he had sexually abused her when she was five years old.
Pauline Dalgleish said she still suffers flashbacks of the sex attack carried out by her uncle, Neil Kendall, while she lay in bed as a child.
The 31-year-old said she felt a “sense of relief” after learning that Kendall had taken his own life in Oxgangs nearly two weeks ago.
The mother-of-four said that her ordeal had destroyed her confidence and left her battling depression and panic attacks.
Ms Dalgleish said that Kendall had faced trial for the attack on her, but a verdict of not proven was reached at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in the late 1980s.
Kendall, 48, had faced trial accused of gang raping victim Dana Fowley, now 33, when she was ten years old. But the trial against him collapsed in September 2009 after Ms Fowley’s mother changed her evidence on the witness stand.
Ms Dalgleish, who lives in the Leith area, said: “Neil was living with us in Muirhouse when I was younger because he was my mum’s stepbrother. He was just a normal uncle and I liked and trusted him. He was Uncle Neil.
“When I was five years old, I was sleeping in my bed when he came into the room. He started touching me then sexually assaulted me.
“I was terrified and didn’t know what was happening.
“Afterwards I went downstairs and my mum noticed that bits of my body were red and she asked what happened. I told her and she called the police.
“He was charged with sexual assault and the case went to Edinburgh Sheriff Court but it was not proven.”
Ms Dalgleish said that her attacker had been known as Neil Quinn before the court case, but started using the name Kendall.
And she admitted that years later the horror of the abuse she suffered continued to affect her life – and even prevented her from saying goodbye to her grandfather when he was on his death bed.
She added: “He was still a relative who I would see from time to time but I tried to avoid him. If I saw him in the street I would freeze.
“When my grandad was dying I went to the hospice to be with him but Neil was there. I had to leave.
“I found out a few hours later my grandad had died while I was gone.
“I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I have flashbacks of that night. I still don’t understand how he could’ve done it.
“I’ve wanted to forget about it, but in many ways I think it’s destroyed my life. It’s affected my self-esteem and confidence.”
Ms Dalgleish took the decision to come forward and speak about her ordeal after learning that Kendall had taken his own life last month. Police were called to an address in Oxgangs on February 22 after the discovery of Kendall’s body. It is understood he hanged himself. Officers confirmed there were “no suspicious circumstances” over the death.
As previously revealed in the Evening News, Kendall had previously stood trial on charges of raping Ms Fowley while acting with others at Abernethy Caravan Park in Perthshire, between April 30, 1990 and June 27, 1990.
Ms Fowley said Kendall had lived with her family for a number of years as a friend of her father, Billy King, who was also accused of sexually abusing her before his death.
Her mother, Caroline Dunsmore, told police Kendall was among the group of men who abused Ms Fowley.
But the trial against him collapsed in September 2009 after Dunsmore, the trial’s key witness who facilitated and took part in much of the abuse, changed her evidence on the witness stand and denied seeing men, including Kendall, sexually abuse her daughter.
Dunsmore is serving 12 years for her part in the horrific abuse Ms Fowley suffered.
After receiving news of his death, Ms Fowley, now 33, said “justice is justice” although she would have preferred to see Kendall convicted of the allegations in court.
Ms Dalgleish, who waived her right to anonymity, said she had felt a “sense of relief” at the news – and at learning that she had not been the only victim.
“My mum phoned me to tell me Neil was dead,” she said. “I just felt a sense of relief as if a weight had come off my shoulders.
“I believe he took his life because of the guilt over what he had done over the years.
“After I found out what had happened to Dana I contacted her and we spoke a few times over Facebook. I had thought it was only me he did that to. It was good to speak to someone who knew how I felt.”
Ms Dalgleish’s mother, Helen Quinn, 58, said that Kendall had been raised by her father since he was a boy.
She added: “After what happened to Pauline, the court case was not proven.
“Pauline was so young and Neil told the court he was drunk and couldn’t remember what had happened.
“My Pauline has never been able to cope with life since then. She still has nightmares. It haunts her.
“Neil is nothing but an animal. After what happened to Dana and Pauline I’m glad that he’s gone.”
Kendall’s family previously said they did not wish to comment on his death.
Sisters were systematically raped over 12-year period
Dana Fowley suffered a childhood of horrific abuse and betrayal by those closest to her.
Now 33, she claims to have finally got some justice with the death of the man accused of gang-raping her.
Neil Kendall had stood trial for his part in the grim attack on Ms Fowley when she was just ten years old.
But the trial against him collapsed in September 2009 after Ms Fowley’s mother withdrew her evidence.
Caroline Dunsmore, who facilitated and took part in much of the abuse, is now serving 12 years for her part in the abuse.
Ms Fowley wrote an autobiography, published by Random House, covering the years of abuse, as well as the story of the court trials.
She and her sister were systematically raped over the course of 12 years, up to 1997. How Could She? became a bestseller with more than 100,000 copies flying off the shelves.
In it, she revisited the “House of Hell” in Muirhouse Green where she was first gang-raped at the age of six by her mother, stepdad Billy King and his parents, Peter and Mary King.
The mum-of-two has been working on a second book which focuses on her relationship with her mother and her “second betrayal” at court.
Speaking previously, she said: “I’ve been contacted by so many people who read the first book who were also victims of sexual abuse. They’ve told me how much it helped them and that’s been great to hear.
“If the book had helped only one person then I would’ve been happy.”