‘I’m one of world’s toughest men who can kill anyone but seeing paedo threw me’

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    A martial arts expert who suffered sexual abuse as a child told the story of how “at the peak of his physical powers” he bumped into the paedophile that had molested him.

    Geoff Thompson has “lost count” of how many martial arts he has mastered.

    He put his unequalled fighting skill to use as a club bouncer and garnered a reputation as "one of the world's toughest men" before putting a life of violence behind him and turning his hand to writing.

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    He said: “My first book, Watch My Back – people think it’s about a bouncer, but it’s about a frightened kid trying to find their way home.

    “The abuse happened with a martial arts teacher which made it worse because then I became frightened of going to martial arts classes … I thought every teacher was going to abuse me.

    "But I started to go, I started to train I had this urge to build up this armoury."

    A physically imposing presence, Geoff was feared by friends and enemies alike.

    “I was about 16 stone, I was a black belt in lots of systems – some of the very ancient, dangerous stuff," he added to James English.

    “I was curling 220lb I was physically really strong but beneath that I was a frightened kid that knew I was going to be caught out at any minute.”

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    He described how he would bully his wife by being cold if he didn’t get his way, and adds “my friends loved me but they were afraid of me”.

    “I was quite full of pride but then I looked in the mirror and saw this fat overweight bully," Geoff continued.

    “I would say the big turnaround was when I got my 5th dan many years ago."

    But he decided to let his outward strength go in a quest to become a better person.

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    Part of his spiritual turnaround was writing the play, Fragile, that detailed the abuse he had suffered as a young child

    Around the same time, Geoff had a chance meeting with his abuser, 30 years after he had last seen him.

    He added: “I can kill in 30 languages and then one day was just sat in this cafe – at the height of my physical prowess – and I looked across and there he was. Just me and him in his cafe in Coventry.

    “So serendipity had placed us together – it was like the universe was nudging me and saying ‘what are you talking about? Metaphysical power? Let’s have a look at it now.

    “And believe me I had a lot of physical skills and they fell off me like an old coat. I looked over and I was 11 again. I was trembling, I could feel the adrenalin in the soles of my feet and on the crown of my head.

    "Everything in me wanted to run run run. Nobody will know… nobody even know I had met this guy, but I would know."

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    He knew he could "do damage to him" but didn't want to, as that would "just feed whatever parasite" was inside him.

    “I recognised that I had to forgive him. I was trembling with rage," Geoff continued. "It was like climbing out of a dugout and going into No Mans Land.

    “I know I’d done something powerful because he just collapsed. He put his hand out and he wanted to shake my hand. His fingers were trembling."

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    Geoff knew that what the man was doing was accepting forgiveness.

    “I heard years later that he’d killed himself," he continued. "He took himself to London and he hung himself in a hotel room.

    “When I heard that I just felt compassion because I knew when I forgave him that he’d have to face this and I knew how painful that would be."

    For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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