Response to breaking news from Dorset Police reporting that convicted sex offender Connor Hayes has been sentenced to a further 21 months in prison after admitting further offences against a teenage girl.
Gaia was a survivor of sexual violence and last year there was press coverage linking Connor Hayes to her disappearance. We are not in a position to comment on these claims while investigations are ongoing. However, now this man has been convicted of another sexual offence against a minor, we must at least speak to honour the strength and courage of all the survivors involved in this case, as well as their families and loved ones.
We know all too well how long and painful this walk to justice is. We do not know your names, but we owe you thanks. Every member of the public owes you thanks for what you have done to keep our community safe.
May we one day live in a world where every single person subjected to sexual violence feels safe and supported to speak out. In the meantime we live, as Gaia did, afraid that other women and girls may be at risk.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is still investigating Dorset Police’s response to Gaia’s allegations. It is to protect the integrity of this vital investigation that we cannot say any more publicly, except to ask that anyone with any relevant information come forward to us or to the IOPC.
We thank the IOPC from the bottom of our hearts their continued hard work towards truth and justice for Gaia. Whatever happens, this all comes too late to save Gaia and save us the unending pain of life without her; but we are determined to do all we can to see others protected and justice done.
All we can do is wait, thank our friends and our community for their continued support and assure anyone out there who perhaps, like Gaia, feels ignored and afraid, that they are not alone.