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Judge praises courage of victim
A man from Dartmoor has been jailed for 12 years for the historic sexual abuse of a child.
Factory worker Gary Tomlinson, 56, groomed the child for sexual activity when she was just five years old and told her it would be ‘their secret’.
Tomlinson, from Widecombe-on-the-Moor, was found guilty of eleven offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child at the end of a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
He returned to court on Monday to be sentenced for the offences, which took place more than a decade ago. Tomlinson continues to protest his innocence.
During a four-day trial the jury heard how Tomlinson touched a girl inappropriately when he had access to her between the ages of six and nine in the 1990s.
She told her mother at the time but a decision was made by her and her family not to go to the police. The victim herself only summoned the courage to go to the police in 2015.
The court was told the offences have had a severe psychological effect on the victim and she had struggled for years to come to terms with what had happened to her.
The judge praised her courage for coming forward and telling police.
Recorder Malcolm Galloway said: “You instructed this little girl not to tell anybody and this was your secret.
“You are a controlling manipulative and violent man.
“I can only imagine the bravery it took to come forward and to then give evidence in this trial and be forced to relive what happened to her.
“She feels entirely robbed of her childhood and was desperately unhappy. She probably suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is a remarkably brave woman who will struggle to come to terms with what happened to her for the rest of her life.