Relief after paedophile dad is found guilty of sex abuse

James Carlino

James Carlino

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A daughter’s 30-year wait for justice was finally brought to an end after her dad from Leighton Buzzard was convicted of child sexual abuse.

James Carlino, 58, was found guilty at Luton Crown Court of all counts of sexually abusing his daughter in the mid 80s.

Carlino, of Waterdell, was a well-known face around Leighton Buzzard and worked as a maintenance man for years.

And for 35-year-old daughter Donna Carlino, who has waived her right to anonymity, it is a moment tinged with sadness.

“I feel like ... you know, it’s a bit of justice. But when I called my family this time last year, my mum didn’t want me back.

“She used to say I’m trying to split their marriage.”

For nearly 30 years, only-child Donna kept the truth about Carlino’s abuse a secret, and went through a troubled adolescence and teenage years – she was placed into care and became pregnant at 15.

It was only after getting her life back on track and attempting to heal relations with her family that Donna found the courage to confront her father in 2014.

She said: “Prior to it all coming out, I planned this trip to Yorkshire with my mum. It got to the date where we were going to go and he opposed it.

“I was really angry because me and my mum have never spent any time together. I told him I’d tell everyone what he is and what he’s done.”

Donna states that in the conversation, she told her father how he “ruined her life”.

She said: “Even later, when it came to court I thought, at least I’d had that conversation with him.

“I knew and he knew what he had done.”

After confronting Carlino, Donna told other family members about the abuse during her childhood.

She subsequently called police over Christmas 2014 and her father was charged in June.

Carlino pleaded not guilty from the outset and his trial began at Luton Crown Court on December 7.

Donna said: “I just felt ready. But I had to go in there on my own

“ I never even got prepped before I went in.”

In court, she went head-to-head with Carlino’s defence barrister – firing back questions and referring to Carlino repeatedly as a “paedophile”.

Donna added: “I knew that it was his job to make my story look weak and it was my job to tell him, ‘no, you’ve not got a chance’.”

Carlino was found guilty of all 12 charges on December 15 and will be sentenced on January 29.

Donna now lives outside of Leighton Buzzard and is happily settled with her partner and young child. But the rift with her family remains.

She said: “My life is fine now. But back in my childhood they had each other, I had no-one.

“All the pain I’ve gone through... I’ve protected my son and that woman couldn’t even go to the court so that just speaks volumes.”

Donna added: “I got the impression my dad thought he was off the hook.

“I think it’s important to speak out and not be ashamed of what happened.”