A man who was sexually abused by former North Devon policeman Danny Bryant said the paedophile threatened to kill him if he ever spoke of the ordeal.
Steve, 44, who has waived his right to anonymity, but does not wish to reveal his surname, was groomed by Bryant who mentored him during his work as a juvenile bureau officer in the 1980s.
The married father-of-three, who was born in Barnstaple, was sexually abused by Bryant when he was 14 years old during an overnight activities trip to Dartmoor.
Bryant, of Moreton Avenue, Bideford, admitted 10 counts of indecent assault against five boys between 1974 and 1985 and was jailed for six-and-a-half years at Taunton Crown Court on November 7.
Steve said Bryant acted “like an older brother” after being assigned to the teen, who grew up in the Forches area of Barnstaple, after his parents went through divorce.
He said: “His role was to keep me on the right side of the law. He was someone I could look up to. I loved him to bits. He was my hero at that age.
“He used to buy condoms and porn magazines and we would read them together. Now I know he was grooming me, but back then I thought it was cool.”
Steve said his life “spun out of control” after Bryant abused him during an overnight trip to Bernard’s Acre, Belstone, on Dartmoor.
He said: “He sexually abused me with his hand over my mouth threatening to kill me if I ever told anyone about it. I remember it so well. It’s played on my mind every day for the last 28 years.
“It just completely ruined my life. I had put my trust in this man.
“The next day he acted like nothing happened. There was no guilt, no shame.”
Steve said he did not tell anyone about the ordeal and instead took to drugs and abused solvents to deal with it.
He said: “My family disowned me and I wasn’t welcome around my friends. I couldn’t tell anyone.
“In my eyes Danny Bryant was untouchable.
“No one would have believed me. In my mind because of the person I was, being from a broken family and a drug abuser.
“I thought these kind of things just happened to people like me.
“I never thought the law would come to my rescue. I felt powerless.”
Steve ended up homeless before entering a drug rehabilitation centre in South Wales where he stayed for 14 months to “rebuild his life”.
Steve, who now lives in South Wales with his wife and three young children, went to court to watch Bryant sentenced.
He said: “He didn’t fix his eyes on us, he looked at the floor but as he was taken down he turned back and bowed. I hope that’s the last I see of him.
“In some ways I want to offer the man forgiveness. Deep down I believe I have forgiven him and I want him to know that. He’s done horrendous things, but he’s got to live with what he’s done.
“He is one big lie. His life, his character and his medal from the Queen has all been a lie.”
Steve also said more should have been done at the time by Devon and Cornwall Police, but disagreed it was a cover-up like fellow victims Russel Dawson and Kelvin Whittle had suggested.
He said: “A cover up is a strong suggestion, but I do think he was too powerful to be challenged by the people around him.
“They didn’t do what was required to protect people.
“My big complaint is that if they had listened to Russel back then, then maybe everyone else would have come forward and our lives would have been different. We’ve had to live with this pain.”
The energy conservation surveyor, who only told his family about the abuse two months before Bryant’s trial, said he was now strong enough to cope with it.
He said: “I think if I had tried to take him on back then it would have destroyed me because I was so angry. I’m a completely different person now.
“When I told my mum she said ‘now we know why we lost our little boy’.
“It’s still raw for my family, they are very angry.
“I feel strong enough now with all the support of my friends and family.”
Steve said he would not have reported the allegations to police had it not been for the Journal’s front page story on the case.
He said: “My mum rang me and said have you seen the front of the Journal?
“Seeing it in black and white gave me hope to come forward. I didn’t want the other victims to stand alone. If it had not been for seeing that article I wouldn’t have come forward, without a shadow of doubt.”
A VICTIM of convicted paedophile Danny Bryant has spoken exclusively to the Journal about the horrifying ordeal of being sexually abused by the former policeman.
Kelvin Whittle, 46, was abused by Bryant when he was 14 years old and a member of Bryant’s surf lifesaving club.
The support worker, who lives in North Devon, kept quiet about the abuse for years and said he was ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone.
However, he has now waived his legal right to anonymity to back fellow victim Russel Dawson’s campaign for a public inquiry into how the case was dealt with by Devon and Cornwall Police.
He said: “I was only 14 at the time. I kept it hidden, I was ashamed.
“He was obviously so high up in the force and with his British Empire Medal, he was untouchable. It was just like Savile.
“It affects you. I’m a different bloke now.”
Mr Whittle said he now realises Bryant groomed him for a while before one evening, while driving him home from the club, he abused him.
He said: “Until something like that has happened to you, you just don’t know how to react. I just froze.
“I was just getting into the surf lifesaving club, but after that I drifted out and became a recluse. My trust in people disappeared for a while.
“It was horrifying and scary.”
Mr Whittle, who has two daughters, Ayesha, 20, and Kyra, six, gave police a full statement earlier this year to report the allegations.
Like Mr Dawson, he believes it was covered up in the 1980s.
He said: “I’m pleased to have been a part in justice being done, but the police definitely mishandled it back then. They avoided it, they knew what was going on.
“The minute allegations were made he should have been dropped from his position.
“He’s got what he deserved now. He ruined several lives and justice has been done. It’s a weight off my shoulders.”
Mr Whittle is also urging others who may have been abused by Bryant to report it to the police.
He said: “If people out there have been through the same thing, they need to talk and report it.
“I wish I’d come out with it earlier, but I was too young. I’ve held in a lot of anger for quite a few years.
“It’s good to get it out there. It’s no good holding it in like I’ve done because it does affect your life tremendously.
“I want people not to be ashamed and to come forward.”
Victim Russel Dawson aims for public inquiry into Bryant case ‘cover up’:
ONE of Danny Bryant’s victims believes the paedophile policeman’s case would never have got to court if it were not for the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Russel Dawson, 45, was abused by Bryant when he was aged 14 and 15 and a member of the Devon and Cornwall Police Surf Lifesaving Club.
At the time he never told anyone about the assaults for fear of their reaction.
Russel, who now lives in Honiton, spoke to the Journal about his ordeal after Bryant was jailed last week.
He said: “At the surf lifesaving club there was such a good atmosphere and I had really good friends there. I was afraid of ruining that if I told anyone.
“As for Danny Bryant, we all loved him. He was our captain, our hero, our mentor.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe me, he was held in such high regard.”
But, after hearing from another of Bryant’s victims and realising he was not alone, Russel reported the abuse to police in 1988.
However, after reporting the abuse Russel was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In 1996 he asked Bryant for a meeting because he wanted answers.
He said Bryant apologised for what he had done which Russel says gave him some closure.
However, with the support of his family, Russel continued to put pressure on the police to take the case further.
He added: “I went back to them in 2011 after I had started therapy, but they said they didn’t have enough evidence.”
However, Russel believes the high profile Jimmy Savile sex abuse case put more pressure on the police to pursue such cases.
He said: “The Jimmy Savile case was the only reason the police changed their minds.
“Now he has been sentenced it is quite a surreal feeling, but also one of relief.”
Russel, with the help of his MP Neil Parish, is now hoping to bring about a public inquiry into the extent of Bryant’s abuse.