A CHIPPENHAM woman who was sexually abused as a girl has expressed her horror at seeing her tormentor walk free from court.
The 27-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffered four years of abuse from the age of 12 at the hands of Peter Jones, who ran a riding stable at North Wraxall.
Jones, of The Halve, Trowbridge, faced four charges of sexual abuse, one for each year of abuse, at Swindon Crown Court on December 20.
He received a two-year suspended sentence for each charge, to run concurrently. He will also be added to the sex offenders’ register for ten years.
His victim, who was an avid horserider, expected him to be sent to prison and said she felt betrayed by the justice system.
She has been unable to go near any stables since and kept quiet about her ordeal until November last year when her younger sister took up riding and she was forced to explain why she could not go and watch.
The woman, who eventually confessed to her mother, said at the time of the abuse she was too scared to tell anyone.
She said: “I wish back then I had had the strength to tell someone. The night he was arrested he denied everything and the next day he stood up in court and pleaded guilty.
“From the time he was out on bail before the sentencing I was paranoid that he was out to find me. I couldn’t be left on my own.
“Because I never had to speak to anyone about it, it was as though it wasn’t real, but when it came out I started feeling what I should have felt then. I’m on anti-depressants and anti- anxiety medication.
“I have to rely on sleeping pills every night because I have nightmares about him.”
She was not the only victim of Jones. In 2009 he was jailed for six years with a four-year extended licence after admitting 15 indecent assaults on a child under 13 and four of sexual activity with a child at the stables.
Jones, 44, was released last April and in December the woman attended court to see his sentencing, but the court was told his rehabilitation would suffer if he returned to jail.
The woman, who last saw Jones when she was 16, said: “I burst into tears when I got into court, and I burst into tears when they were reading my victim statement. There was no hiding that I was there and I was in hysterics, but he didn’t look at me once. I wasn’t prepared for him not to go down so it has hit me really hard, the fact that he didn’t get jailed.
“It’s affecting just every aspect of my life at the moment and it all seems for nothing.”
Detective Constable Niki Levitt, of Melksham CID, said crimes such as these leave an everlasting mark on the victim.
“Victims should not feel it’s too late to report this type of crime. We have specialist officers trained at dealing with these types of crime and I would encourage anyone who has been a victim to contact us.”