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No Peace Until He’s Dead: Davy Tweed’s litany of domestic and sexual abuse laid bare

Late rugby international’s stepdaughter Amanda Brown skilfully describes the gaslighting, brainwashing, intimidation, guilt and shame he employed

No Peace Until He’s Dead: My Story of Child Abuse at the Hands of Davy Tweed and My Journey to Recovery
Author: Amanda Brown
ISBN-13: 978-1785374982
Publisher: Merrion Press
Guideline Price: €18.99

In 2012, Davy Tweed – 198cm (6ft 6in) unionist politician and former Ireland and Ulster rugby player from Ballymoney, Co Antrim – was convicted on 13 counts of child sex abuse, spanning a period of eight years from 1988. During the case, the court heard the testimony of two women who were sexually assaulted and abused by Tweed from their childhoods into their teens. One woman was Lorraine Tweed, the abuser’s biological daughter; the other was Lorraine’s older sister, Amanda Brown, Tweed’s stepdaughter.

Tweed did four years of an eight-year prison sentence. He was released in 2016. In 2021, despite good conditions and dry roads at the time, he lost control of his motorbike while overtaking. He snapped his neck and was killed, aged 61. It was the eulogising of “the great sporting and political hero” after his death that provoked Amanda Brown to go public.

No Peace Until He’s Dead is Brown’s superbly told account of the reign of injury and terror that she, her four younger sisters and their mother endured at the hands of Tweed, a psychopathically violent wife-batterer and paedophile.

Brown knows of eight girls – herself and her sisters, two local girls and her cousin Gemma – who were sexually abused by Tweed. Gemma, unable to live with the memories, hanged herself aged 21, just a week before Tweed was sentenced. Tweed beat his wife Margaret black and blue for years. He regularly injured her to the point that she could barely walk. The community knew; a group of neighbouring men tried to confront Tweed about it. Local police and doctors had reams of reports on the “domestics” happening in the Tweed household.

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How did Tweed get away with such violence for so long? Brown skilfully describes the gaslighting, brainwashing, intimidation, guilt, secrecy, shame and blame that Tweed employed. She contextualises the family’s torture within a brutal patriarchal culture that tacitly condones domestic abuse, alongside the ineptitudes and prejudices of the legal system and social services. Three years before Brown and her sister testified, the two local women Tweed abused as children spoke out in a separate court case. They were disbelieved and castigated by much of the community.

Abusers depend on silence. In breaking the silence around how abusers such as Tweed operate – covertly sanctioned by authority and culture – Brown does a service for us all.