DAWN Egan says she was just 11 when her brother took her virginity in his bedroom in what she claims was the start of a horrific four-year ordeal as his sex slave.
Yet when she bravely reported the abuse years later, her dreams of finally getting justice were shattered when John Egan killed himself on the day he was due in court.
Dawn – who now hates sex and even struggles to cuddle her own grandchildren – had spent decades plucking up the courage to speak out about Egan’s abuse to her family and the police.
When she heard about his “cowardly” death, she rang up the Jeremy Kyle Show in fury, begging producers to give her a lie detector test so she could “out” her dead brother for what he had done.
But now, Dawn says, she’s been left with a case of he-said-she-said and even fears locals believe Egan took his own life out of grief, because his own wife died six months before he did.
‘He took the coward’s way out’
“He took the coward’s way out,” Dawn, from London, tells The Sun Online, courageously sharing her story for the first time, as figures show sex offences have spiked in the capital.
“I was that upset I rang up Jeremy Kyle to do a lie detector test to prove I’m telling the truth. I thought, ‘no, they’re not going to sit and think you’re a grieving widower’.”
She adds: “I’ve never had closure – how can I move forward?
“I’ve had three partners my whole life and I’ve never enjoyed sex. It’s 100 per cent because of what my brother put me through. If I never have sex for the rest of my life I’ll be happy.”
3,200 rapes in five months
Dawn, now 53 and a grandmother of four, is waiving her anonymity to help other sex attack victims as reported rape offences in London have soared by 140 per cent since 2011.
Figures show nearly 5,000 sexual crimes and 3,200 rape offences were reported to the Metropolitan Police in just the first five months of 2019, according to the London Assembly.
Dawn’s first memories of her sex abuse are from age 11 – yet she fears Egan began attacking her much earlier, as he would sneak her into his bed when she was just six.
The siblings grew up in a troubled household in North London – their mum Jessie regularly gambled while their dad Mick had a drinking problem and dealt out beatings.
Dawn also claims her blue-eyed brother – who was three years older – beat her. Yet she soon learned to stay quiet and “take it” – or face another beating for “telltattling” from her dad.
Molested in her school uniform
When Dawn was 11, Mick kicked her mum out. And not long after that, Egan, then 14, made his first move, forcing his hand up his little sister’s school skirt in the sitting room.
“I knew what was going to happen later on and there was nothing I could do about it,” she recalls.
That evening, when roofer Mick was out at work, Dawn says she was raped by her brother.
“He grabbed me by the hair and dragged me upstairs,” she says.
“I remember starting to cry. He slapped me and told me to shut up and stop being a baby.
She adds: “I remember I was wearing a nightie – to this day, I won’t wear one.”
Four-year ‘sex slave’ ordeal
For the next four years, Dawn claims she was raped weekly by Egan, who even abused her in his bedroom while their dad was in the house, just metres away.
“I became a sex slave,” she recalls. “I stopped going to school and started drinking.”
When Dawn was 14, Egan began dating her best pal. It was a terrifying prospect – yet Dawn admits she felt relieved, because it meant, for a short time at least, the abuse stopped.
“He left me alone. As bad as it sounds, I was relieved,” she says.
But after the pair’s romance ended and the abuse began again, Dawn, then 15, decided to leave home to escape. She lived on the street for six months before moving in with her mum.
Aged 17, Dawn met her first boyfriend and, while the pair had sex, she didn’t enjoy it.
“I was only with him a matter of months when I fell pregnant,” she says.
“We were fine up until I had my first son. Then I wouldn’t have sex with him.”
Dawn, now a full-time carer, would go on to have two other partners and a second son.
She says her aversion to sex caused issues in all her relationships, telling us: “I used to sleep on the sofa.
“I would say, ‘how I’ve got kids I haven’t got a bloody clue’.”
‘I struggle to cuddle grandkids’
Dawn – who would avoid Egan on the rare occasions they were both at an event – has also struggled to be affectionate with her four grandchildren, aged between three and nine, because of her ordeal.
“I never liked being cuddled – I’d count, ‘five, four, three, two, one’,” she says. “I can get up to 20 seconds with my grandchildren now but am I 100 per cent comfortable? No.”
Finally, in 2016, after four decades of silence, Dawn told her dad about the abuse while he was lying sick in hospital – and he made her promise she’d report his son to the police.
“He said, ‘when I get out of here, I’ll support you. John’s got to pay for what he did’,” recalls Dawn, whose mum had died from a massive stroke in 1986.
Mick, 78, never made it out of hospital – but Dawn kept her word.
That October, she went to the police to report Egan – who was by that point living in Wales with his wife – which she describes as the “hardest thing I’ve ever done”.
During the police probe, Egan’s wife died from cancer.
Then in September 2017, Egan was told he was facing 10 historic sex charges relating to Dawn and another victim, including rape, indecent assault and actual bodily harm.
Overdose gave ‘no closure’
He was due to enter his pleas in front of North London magistrates on October 23 – but after he failed to show up at court, officers found him unconscious at his home.
He had taken a drug overdose and died in hospital the same day.
“Instead of facing up to what he did to me from 11 to 15, he took his own life,” says Dawn.
“Even on his suicide note, he didn’t say ‘I’m sorry’. That would have given me closure. He just said ‘with all this s*** that’s going on’ he can’t go on anymore.”
Today, Dawn has a message for other sex abuse victims: “Speak up, do not keep your abuser’s secret for them. The longer you keep it quiet, the longer they keep their power over you.”
She adds: “I look back now and I regret not saying something earlier. I still have nightmares and flashbacks. The moment you talk, you take back control.”
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Despite everything she’s been through, Dawn now enjoys life – and has finally got the close, loving family she’s always dreamed of, in her sons and grandchildren.
“I see them every week, I think what I’ve been through has brought us closer,” she says.
“I can do what I want – I’m happy as Larry.
“Do I miss my brother at all? No. Not one little bit.”
- If you’re worried a child is being sexually abused, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000