Woman tells court how her lesbian parents starved her, made her sleep in a dog’s bed and beat her with a hammer 34 times – one for every sweet she “stole”
- Alex Hickie, 20, claims her stepmother beat her with a hammer 34 times
- She told a court she was forced to sleep in a dog’s bed and starved by her mums
- Jennifer Harrison, 40, and wife Deborah Harrison, 37, deny the charges
Alex Hickie, 20, told a jury her mother and her wife had hit her, kept her from eating food and made her sleep in the dog’s bed
A woman has told the court how her lesbian parents starved her, made her sleep in a dog’s bed and beat her with a hammer 34 times – once for every sweet she allegedly stole.
Alex Hickie, 20, claims her step-mother shattered her childhood by alleging her real father was a rapist who forced himself on her mum.
Miss Hickie told a jury she had always been told her father had loved her mother and the reason they never married was because he passed away.
But she told the court her stepmother Jennifer Harrison, 40, said her father was actually a rapist.
Harrison is on trial with partner Debora Harrison, Miss Hickie’s biological mother, at Hull Crown Court this week.
Both deny assault and causing actual bodily harm.
But Miss Hickie alleges the pair made her life a misery by making her sleep in a dog’s bed and banning her from eating food in the cupboards, instead forcing her to eat porridge.
In one incident, she claims to have been beaten 34 times with a hammer after she ‘stole’ some sweets. She said she was hit for each piece she had taken.
Miss Hickie, who is accused of making up the allegations, took the witness stand behind screens to deny claims she had been jealous of the lesbian couple’s relationship.
She said she was hit with a hair brush, TV remote control and at one stage tried to run away eventually trying to take her own life.
She claimed Jennifer Harrison controlled when she could get bathed and even who she dated.
Defence barrister Claire Holmes asked Miss Hickie: ‘Do you recall a conversation with your mother when she told you she had relationships with women not men and you did not speak to her for a week.’
It is alleged that, when her step-mother (left) found 34 sweet wrappers stashed in her bedroom, she hit the girl with a hammer 34 times. Her mother (right) is also accused of hitting her
Ms Hickie replied: ‘It was general knowledge. It was not information I needed as a child. I was nine.
‘What she did say was she was dating Jen. She said: “She is my girlfriend.”
‘I said: “What do you mean? That does not sound right.” I think she perceived it as homophobic.
‘My complaint was not that she was lesbian – but that she was dating at all. I was nine. I was jealous. I heard her on the phone giggling with Jennifer.
‘In a child’s way, I wanted her to be like that with me.
‘I was jealous – but it was not about her lesbianism – it was just what it was.’
She said Deborah and Jennifer met when she was six – but did not live as a family together at first.
She said when she was born she lived with her father, but when he died they moved to her grandfather’s home in Bridlington with her mother and uncle.
She said her mother and Jennifer moved to Edinburgh when she was 12 – but she did not move to be with them until she was 14.
Ms Holmes accused Ms Hickie of being a troublesome teenager who indulged in fictional story writing believing the characters were telling her to do things.
Ms Hickie told the jury: ‘I was told my mum and dad were in love and they were going to get married but then he died. I believed that. For a lot of years. Then one day, Jen told me it is not true.’
Ms Hickie had earlier told the jury that food such as milk, bread, and potatoes were gradually withdrawn from her until there was nothing she was allowed to eat. Pictured above: Deborah Harrison, right, and Jennifer Harrison arrive at Hull Crown Court
She said: ‘She said my dad was a rapist who had told my mum he had to live with her and that he had raped her. I was told my grandfather was aware of this. I did not speak to my grandfather again after that.’
Ms Holmes accused Miss Hickie of self diagnosing herself as a manic depressive, stabbing her own pet rabbit with a compass and deliberately allowing her dog to walk on a railway line to get back at the couple.
Ms Hickie denied all the allegations. She said: ‘There were sometimes good days. Generally bad days. They would say there are people who are dying of cancer who would love to have your life.
Deborah Harrison (pictured) allegedly stopped her daughter from having food in their home
‘They said I was this weird, horrible thing. I was wrong, stupid or delusional. There came a point when I believed them. I was too afraid to go to school.’
She approached Jennifer with a sheet of paper thinking is she had a personality disorder. ‘Jen went ballistic. She said: “You know I was calming down. Then you bring me this b*******.” She started to hit me, to bang my head against the corner of the bedroom wall. I went to bed on the dog’s bed as usual.’
Ms Hickie had earlier told the jury that food such as milk, bread, and potatoes were gradually withdrawn from her until there was nothing she was allowed to eat.
‘Because of that I started to starve,’ she said. ‘All of a sudden you realise there’s a whole kitchen full of food and you can’t eat it.’
She told the court she resorted to eating small amounts of fruit, bread and sweets that were kept in a cupboard at their home in Bempton, East Yorkshire.
But, when her parents found the leftover wrappers in July 2013, they decided to ‘punish her’.
The woman told the court how Jennifer Harrison started attacking her, ‘repeating herself about how disgusting I am.’
The jury was told Jennifer Harrison was taken ill after hearing the opening of the case.
She was taken to hospital and detained overnight and the jury heard no evidence on Thursday.
Judge Simon Jack said today: ‘Mrs Jennifer Harrison has been discharged from hospital. She has been at court this morning, but chosen to leave.
‘You must not speculate her precise medical condition. That is not issue for you to decide. You have to decide what happened in July 2013. Ms Holmes has assured me she has full instruction so we will continue without her.’