The granddaughters of a man who repeatedly sneaked into their bedroom and sexually assaulted them as they slept today told of their joy after he was jailed for five and a half years, saying: “Justice has been done”.
Former Blackpool hotelier Glyn Hatter, 71, who is now confined to a wheelchair, was convicted of 20 counts of indecent assault against Katie and Keely Oberman after a 10-day trial at Preston Crown Court.
The catalogue of offences happened over a period of almost five years, some charges date back to 1995, when the sisters were just five and six years old.
Today, after seeing the pensioner jailed, his brave victims waived their right to anonymity to encourage other victims of sex abuse to come forward.
Speaking to The Gazette, 24-year-old Katie Oberman said: “I am absolutely overjoyed. When my sister Keely and I came forward and spoke out all we dreamt of was getting a guilty verdict so for him to go to prison too it really feels like justice has been done.
“One of the hardest things to come to terms with what happened as an adult is that he was such a good and caring grandad. He would do magic in the hotel.
“But I know now he was grooming us. He is very manipulative.
“He would abuse us then give us money or buy us beanie babies.”
The court heard Hatter, who ran the Wilton Hotel on Alexander Road, South Shore, married the girls’ mothers’ mum.
They often stayed overnight with their grandparents.
Prosecutors said it was during these visits between October 1995 and March 2000 when they were aged just five and six that the abuse started.
The court heard on several occasions the girls would wake in the night to discover Hatter was assaulting them.
Other instances included inappropriate touching while the girls sat on his knee in the computer room.
The court also heard Hatter, who has now given the hotel to a daughter, liked to give “special hugs” where he would abuse them on the breakfast bar.
Prosecutors said the abuse only stopped after Keely, the younger sibling now aged 23, told her parents what had been happening and they moved away from the Fylde coast.
Former Palatine High School pupil Katie said: “As he was sentenced I had really mixed emotions. Obviously I am happy he has gone to prison but my family has had to sit through a trial and different hearings.
“My way of dealing with this was always to just keep my mouth shut but when I met my boyfriend’s uncle, who is a former policeman, he gave me lots of advice.
“Even though he has been sentenced what he has done will never go away. I still have night tremors and when I have children I will never be able to trust them with anyone.
“But the justice system has really worked for me. This has divided my whole family, but 12 jurors who didn’t know us believed in us and that meant a lot. We have never had a reason to lie.”
Following the guilty verdict on September 13, Katie said the 12 jurors gave them a hope that will stay with them forever.
She said: “We were stood with our barrister looking out of the windows when outside we spotted one of the jurors from the trial.
“She just looked up at us and saluted. Obviously it was really emotional and we blew kisses back. But when we looked again all 12 members were waving at us. It was like they were saying we knew we made the right decision.
“I urge anyone who finds themselves in the same situation to speak out. A police officer I saw at the beginning of the case said to me recently after seeing me again that I look like a different person and that is just how I feel.”
Former Waterloo Primary School pupil Keely, said: “It feels like this is the right result and that justice really has been done.”
Defence barrister Tania Griffiths told the court Hatton had attended in a manual wheelchair instead of his regular electric chair and that if sent to prison he would be unable to do anything for himself..
But, jailing Hatter, of Tudor Place, South Shore to five and a half years behind bars Judge Badley said his actions had clearly had a “profound” effect on his victims.
She said: “The aggravating factors to this case is that you abused your position of trust, there is more than one victim and you threatened Keely something bad would happen if she told anyone.”