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Abused daughter feels 'cheated' after paedophile father dies in prison three weeks into 16 year sentence

Karen Starkey kept her father's abuse secret for 45 years. Photo: MEN Syndication

A daughter who kept her paedophile father's abuse secret for 45 years says she feels "cheated" by his death less than three weeks into his 16 year prison sentence.

Albert Starkie, 80, was found dead in his cell at Strangeways on Tuesday. His death is being treated as 'natural causes'.

Albert Starkie was sentenced to 16 years in prison in September. He died less than three weeks later. Credit: MEN Syndication

Starkie's daughter Karen Lockhart, 57, who was abused and raped by Starkie as a child, but kept his crimes a secret for 45 years, has said that part of her feels cheated by his rapid demise.

Starkie, from Wythenshawe, was sentenced to 16 years at the end of last month after admitting a series of child sex charges.

After learning of his death, Karen said: “I’m shocked because it’s three weeks on Friday that he was sentenced, but I’m glad I got my justice and glad I had the balls to tell somebody about what had gone on because I’d hidden it. On the other side, though it’s totally ridiculous, I feel guilty, and know people who love him will be blaming me for his death.

“I’m not glad he’s dead. I have shed a tear because he’s still my dad - I let him be my father and acted as though nothing had happened for years, because I didn’t want him to know he’d affected me. But I thought about what he’d done every day, and three years ago, when a friend was blaming her alcoholism on her child abuse, I said ‘my dad did the same to me’. When I told my daughter Georgia she was absolutely distraught and persuaded me to go to the police, because I was going to wait until he died to say anything.

“Now, she’s upset, and feels she has to be sorry for that because he’s a paedo. I said to her ‘I know he’s a paedo, but he’s been your granddad for 24 years’ - she loved her granddad before she knew what he was.

“When I heard he died I did feel a bit cheated - I thought ‘God, all those years I’ve suffered and he’s only had to suffer two and a bit weeks. But he could have died without me saying anything and I would have been robbed. So I’m glad I went through the trauma of it all, and it has been traumatic - I’ve suffered a lot through the last few months.

“I’d say to anyone though, that if you are holding that secret, tell somebody, because then you can get your justice. I would say just tell - because you get believed by the police and they help you.

– Karen Starkie
Karen (centre) kept the abuse a secret for 45 years. Credit: MEN

"Years ago they didn’t believe you, but they do now, and they really investigate it properly."

It was Karen's daughter Georgia (right) who persuaded her to go to the police. Credit: MEN Syndictation

Don’t hold it in, because if you do, and your abuser dies, you won’t get your justice like I did.

– Karen Starkie

At the time of sentencing, his barrister, Michael Knowles, told Manchester Crown Court that frail, wheelchair-bound Starkie had a heart problem, respiratory difficulties and a kidney complaint. Mr Knowles said ‘the reality’ of the case was that ‘almost all his remaining years’ would be spent behind bars.

He was found dead at HMP Manchester on Tuesday night. It is understood there were no suspicious circumstances and the death is being treated as 'natural causes'.

Starkie’s sentencing heard he began grooming Karen as a ‘substitute sex partner’ when she was just seven. By the age of nine he was molesting her at the cinema, and at 11 he took her virginity.

Speaking after he was jailed on September 30, Karen spoke of her relief that he would be spending the rest of his life behind bars.

“He’s 80 years old now so I think he will spend the rest of his life in there, which I’m glad about”, she said. “I’ve got my justice now and I can carry on without having to carry this sordid secret around with me.

“I’m glad that he has gone to prison and he has not gotten away with it. He couldn’t look me in the eyes as he was going down. I just hate the guy. I hope he rots in hell.”

Days later Starkie was dead.

A GMP spokesman said: “On Tuesday, October 18, we were called to HMP Manchester to a report that an 80-year-old man had died. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a file has been passed to the coroner.”