Exclusive: Leeds child sex abuse victim urges officials to keep her paedophile father in prison

Paula Bairstow has urged officials not to release her father from prison early. Picture: Mark Bickerdike
Paula Bairstow has urged officials not to release her father from prison early. Picture: Mark Bickerdike

A Leeds woman who was sexually abused throughout her childhood has pleaded with prison officials to keep her paedophile father behind bars.

Painful memories have resurfaced since Paula Bairstow was told that her father had applied to be released from prison early, a little over halfway through his 12-year sentence.

Joseph Joyce pictured outside court in January 2011. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Joseph Joyce pictured outside court in January 2011. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Paula, who waived her right to anonymity in 2011, wrote a heartfelt letter to the Parole Board ahead of a review meeting at HMP York yesterday.

In it, she urged them to refuse Joseph Joyce’s bid for release and detailed the grave concerns she held.

Joyce was jailed in 2011 after being convicted of abusing Paula and two other girls.

Speaking exclusively to the YEP, Paula said: “I can’t believe he’s had the cheek to do that. He shouldn’t be given the chance to be released 20 months early, he shouldn’t be allowed out full stop. Despite being found guilty, even when he’s done all this time in prison, he’s still not acknowledging it. He’s not even done any rehabilitation work.

He’s a paedophile. That’s it. You can’t change what he is.

Paula Bairstow

“He’s a paedophile. That’s it. You can’t change what he is.”

At one time, Paula had thought that there might be some chance of reconciliation if her father finally admitted his actions and apologised.

But he has never made any attempt to mend the rifts that have torn his family apart.

“He was exceptionally quiet in crown court,” Paula said. “I thought he would come back and say sorry, write me a letter.”

Not even the death of Paula’s youngest son, Jack, in September 2016 was enough to prick Joyce’s conscience.

When a condolence card was sent, it was to Paula’s mother – the woman Joyce had divorced decades earlier, but who had allowed him to continue abusing their daughter.

“It shows you what kind of man he is,” said Paula, who married and had eight children of her own.

“It probably would have been the decisive moment. He’s in ill health now, he’s served six years, he’s recognised that his grandson has died, but he didn’t even send me a card. That has sealed the deal for me.”

She said the decision to then seek early release is further evidence that Joyce cares little about the harm his actions have caused over the years.

“As if we hadn’t got enough on our plates losing Jack, it’s thrown all this back up,” she said. “It’s not just about the impact it’s had on me. It’s about the impact it’s had on my children.

“The stress my two youngest went through was horrendous, being pulled up a school about it. They saw me in some horrific states when the court case was going on.”

Joyce applied unsuccessfully for temporary release for the funeral of Paula’s mother in May.

The Parole Board does not comment on individual cases, but Paula said she was told the decision could take weeks.

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