A MAN who repeatedly sexually abused a girl, starting when she was just 10, has been jailed for 11 years, after a judge railed at him for the way he had ruined her life.

Stuart Loosemore was living in Chippenham when he groomed the youngster by playing 'games' before indecently touching her and getting her to kiss him all over.

The probation officer compiling a pre-sentence report said he 'minimised' what he had done by suggesting he and the primary school child were in 'a relationship'.

Hearing the 53-year-old had 'turned his life around' since the offending in the 1990s, a judge at Swindon Crown Court told him his victim hadn't had the same opportunity.

Loosemore, of Brislington, Bristol, had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the child.

Jailing him, Judge Robert Pawson said: "The problem is this: while you may have turned your life around the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old has ruined her life and she has not been able to turn it around.

"She refers to keeping a dark secret for a long time. She refers to sever post-traumatic stress disorder, something that has been diagnosed by a psychologist.

"She used to think, Mr Loosemore, that it was all her fault. She used to cut herself, Mr Loosemore, to get the bad out of herself.

"She has tried to commit suicide. She has used drink and drugs. She is alcohol dependent.

"She couldn't sleep because of the dark nightmares it brings. She reports how she worked herself hard so she can't not sleep.

"There's some credit for you turning you life around but make no mistake, Mr Loosemore: whatever you have done for yourself you have ruined that woman's life."

Ian Dixey, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Loosemore was in his early 30s when he moved in with his sister in the town in the early 1990s and met his victim.

Over the next couple of years he repeatedly abused her at his home and also in his car.

Mr Dixey said that as a result of the abuse the girl had turned to drink and drugs and also self harmed. She said that the defendant had told her that no-one would believe her over him forcing her to suffer in silence.

Ray Tully, defending, said that for the past 20 years his client has not been in any other sort of trouble, having married and has three children and two step-children.

He said that while the offending was bad it was not of the worst kind and was mainly just touching.

Judge Pawson also added an extra year of licence to Loosemore's sentence and left other offences alleging abuse of two other girls to lie on the file.

Detective Sergeant Debbie Hatch said: “This investigation related to non recent abuse that took place while Loosemore was living Chippenham in 1993.

“I would like to take this opportunity to firstly praise the victim in this awful case, who has understandably found it difficult to not only come forward to report this abuse to police, but to see the case through the courts. It has been both traumatic and upsetting for her to relive the awful abuse she suffered at the hands of Loosemore.

“I am satisfied with the sentence handed out – Loosemore has shown no remorse for his actions and he will now serve an 11 year custodial sentence.

“I hope this case serves to prove that we will always investigate reports of abuse regardless of how much time has passed, and we would always encourage victims to get in touch. You can speak to us via 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.

“Victims can also seek support and counselling from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at the New Swindon Sanctuary.”

An NSPCC spokesperson for South West England said: “Loosemore is a sexual predator who is now thankfully behind bars. No child should ever have to experience what his young victim went through.

“It is absolutely right that people who suffered child sexual abuse, such as the victim in this case, can seek justice and support no matter how much time has passed since their ordeal.

“Sexual abuse has a devastating effect on childhoods and it's vitally important that the victim receives all possible support to help rebuild her life.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child or young person can call the NSPCC helpline for free, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000. Meanwhile, children can call Childline on 0800 1111.