A BRAVE young girl who was sexually assaulted by a 77-year-old paedophile has said she will not let her attacker’s actions “break” her, as he is put behind bars.

Antony Cook, formerly of Brightlingsea, was jailed for five years on June 18 after being convicted of a string of sexual offences against a child.

Cook had pleaded guilty to 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 horrific trauma inflicted on his victim had taken place in Brightlingsea.

As a result of his crimes, the sexual predator is now also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years and has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.

During the hearing, the girl Cook abused bravely told the court how she, and her future, had been impacted by his atrocious and exploitative crimes.

But she also expressed a determination to not let the ordeal completely define the person she becomes, nor ruin her life. 

“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.

“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, praised the girl for courageously opening up about her experience, and now hopes it will result in others doing the same.

“I would like to praise this young victim for her incredible courage in speaking out about the abuse she suffered at the hands of someone she trusted, and 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 has now urged anyone who has suffered child sexual abuse to not suffer in silence and contact one of the force's specialist officers.

To do so, call 101 and ask to speak to the police's child abuse investigation team.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.