A WOMAN who was systematically sexually abused by a Chippenham solicitor over a five-year period has today urged other paedophile victims to come forward and speak out.

Following more than 30 years of torment, the woman is now urging other paedophile victims to come and tell family, friends and police if they are being sexually abused.

“There are people you can talk to, family, friends, the police and the NSPCC. Find the strength to speak out and get help. When you start to speak out, you will find it is not as bad as the abuse itself.”

The 50-year-old, who has requested anonymity, was speaking after Michael Pulsford, a former director of Chippenham law firm, Jeary and Lewis, was jailed for eight years and eight months by a judge at Southampton Crown Court on April 18.

The court was told he had sexually abused three young girls and three boys aged under 16forcing them to kiss him and touching them inappropriately.

He committed the offences while working as a youth club leader and volunteer with the Corsham-based church group Crusaders, later known as Urban Saints, for around 30 years.

The woman told how Pulsford carried out the sexual abuse on an almost weekly basis for five years between 1980 and 1985.

She said: “It started when I joined the Crusaders at the age of 11. He would drop off a group of us at home after the evening sessions finished.

“He would drop off me first and ask me to wait and then would come back for me after dropping off the others and then drive to a layby. It would start with a cuddle and talking and then it would progress from there.”

She told how Pulsford would even read a specific chapter from the bible, Corinthians 1, Chapter 13, entitled Love, to her while they were alone together.

The abuse ended when she turned 16, stopped attending the Crusaders sessions and finally found the courage to tell Pulsford she would no longer see him.

But the abuse had left mental scars, she became introverted, could not confide in her mother, her family or her friends, and carried a massive burden of guilt for years.

She finally found the strength to make a complaint to Melksham Police in 2009, sparking a two-year investigation. In 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case for lack of evidence after Pulsford denied her allegations.

It was re-opened in 2017 after Hampshire Police, investigating historical child sex offences in Operation Marmion, were given Pulsford’s name by another victim.

Eight of his victims came forward following police enquiries and publicity, only six cases stood up in court. In total, Pulsford admitted 16 counts of indecent assault which happened between 1974 and 1989.