A driving instructor has been jailed for abusing a boy in the 1980s after the victim summoned the courage to go to the police almost 35 years later.
The victim tried to bury the memory of what happened to him when he was 12 and 13 but it all came back to him when he saw his abuser driving past him as he gave a lesson.
Kevin Snow, 52, was jailed for four years at Exeter Crown Court despite having lived a blameless and hard working life for more than three decades.
He abused the boy when he was only 16 or 17 himself and living in Witheridge, near Tiverton.
Snow eventually pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial. It was the third time he was due to be tried and the third time the victim went to court to give evidence.
He crashed his motorcycle on his way to the first trial, suffering a serious leg injury, and tried to kill himself the night before the second trial.
He was flown to Derriford hospital from his home in Willand by Air Ambulance and spent a week being treated.
Snow, of Fir Close, Willand, admitted the sexual assaults and two counts of indecent assault and was jailed for four years by Judge Graham Cottle.
He told him: “These offences took place when you were 16 and 17, many years ago, and since that time you have lived a blameless existence.
“I have to look at your circumstances at the time of these offences. You had a very difficult upbringing and I have to take that into account.
“One of these offences would now be sentenced as rape and a fact I must consider is that your victim has suffered greatly as a result of what happened.
“He has written a victim statement saying he is grateful you have eventually admitted your crimes against him but the two delayed trials have been a nightmare.
“He has had to take time off work because of mental health issues stemming from what you did to him. He feels vulnerable and humiliated and cannot forgive the angst you have caused him. The effects on him have been very substantial.”
Nigel Wraith, for the prosecution, said Snow was aged 16 or 17 and living in Witheridge when the offences took place in the early 1980s.
The victim did not tell anyone at the time and kept his memories bottled up until 2003 and 2004, when one of the factors which led him to recall the offences was seeing Snow drive past him while he was working as a driving instructor.
It was another nine years before he felt able to go to the police. He told how he had been abused repeatedly over a period of about a year.
Gareth Evans, for the defence, said Snow endured a very difficult childhood in which he suffered physical abuse while living with his grandmother.
He said Snow had run a series of successful businesses despite leaving school unable to read or write but had been forced to give up his driving school because of these offences.
Mr Evans said a probation assessment concluded Snow posed no risk to children. He said Snow was very emotionally immature at the time.
Mid Devon man admits sex offence allegations
A man has been warned he faces jail after he admitted carrying out serious sexual offences against a boy during the 1980s.
Kevin Snow, 52, pleaded guilty to three offences on what was due to be the first day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court.
The case had been due to be tried twice before but on the eve of the first trial Snow suffered a broken leg in a road accident and on the day before the second trial he took an overdose and was taken to hospital.
Snow, of Fir Close, Willand, admitted buggery and two counts of indecent assault on the same victim in the early 1980s.
Judge Jeremy Griggs adjourned sentence and ordered a probation report.
He told him:”You have taken what your counsel has described as a brave decision to accept the reality of what was alleged against you. You have saved people from having to give evidence.
“You know the likely outcome but I adjourning the case for reports. I know about the problems when you did not attend court in the past and the reasons that led up to that.
“As your counsel says, what has happened today has probably alleviated those problems so I shall grant you bail.”
Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said: “The defendant’s position is that he simply cannot remember what happened but is prepared to accept that what the victim says is true.”