‘It has changed who I am’ – victim of sex offender makes emotional statement after her abuser is jailed

Antony Cook, 77, formerly of Brightlingsea, was jailed last week for sexual offences against a child

Antony Cook, 77, formerly of Brightlingsea, was jailed last week for sexual offences against a child. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

The courage of a child sex abuse victim is being praised by police after she bravely came forward to share her story of how the abuse had affected her life.

The victim spoke out after a man was jailed for sexual offences against a child earlier this year.

Antony Cook, formerly of Brightlingsea, admitted three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court in February.

The 77-year-old was jailed on Thursday, June 18 and made a subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years – he was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

The girl he abused bravely told the court how she had been affected by his crimes.

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She and her family have given permission for her victim impact statement to be shared.

“When he was doing those things to me when I was younger I didn’t know it was wrong, I just thought it was normal,” she said.

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“When, through learning at school that what he was doing was wrong and not normal, was when this started having more impact on me.

“I was confused and found it hard to figure it all out.

“I’ve tried my best to forget about it and put it to the back of my mind, but I know it will always be with me, it has changed who I am.

“I now know none of this is my fault, and that for all the damage he has done to me he is not going to break me.”

Detective Constable Rachel Evemy, of Essex Police, said: “I would like to praise this young victim for her incredible courage in speaking out about the abuse she suffered. I hope that this result brings her some comfort and closure.

“I hope her bravery encourages others who are also suffering to feel they can speak out.”

Essex Police is urging anyone who has been affected by child sexual abuse, no matter how long ago, to come forward and not suffer in silence.

Victims are supported by specialist officers and the child abuse investigation team can be contacted on 101.

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