‘He has ruined my life’ - Woman tells jurors of impact of sex abuse

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A 49-year-old man has gone on trial for grooming and sexually abusing a girl more than a decade ago.

Shane Vertigan, 49, is alleged to have started sexually abusing the girl when she was 12, but it was only in August 2016 that she came forward to make a complaint to police, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Vertigan, of Whitelands, Fakenham, has denied eight counts of sexually abusing the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Prosecutor David Wilson told a jury in his opening speech that Vertigan had groomed the girl and had started out by kissing her before moving on to touching her sexually.

Mr Wilson said that Vertigan repeatedly sexually touched the girl and told her not to say anything, although she had made some entries in her diary.

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He said it was not until August 2016 that as an adult she finally came forward over concerns that Vertigan could go on to abuse others.

The defendant was arrested and made a "no comment" interview to police but did however give a prepared statement in which he said that nothing inappropriate had happened and denied he ever touched the girl sexually.

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Mr Wilson told the jury: "The decision you have to make is did the abuse described happen as she has set out?"

Giving evidence over a court video, the girl told how she had frozen and panicked when he abused her and claimed he told her that she should not tell anyone what happened: "I just froze. Everything went blank."

"He said I was not to tell anyone. He said it was a bit of fun."

She said he also bought her credits for her phone so he could send her text messages.

She said that she was worried she might get into trouble if she told anyone about the abuse at the time but said as she got older she realised what had happened was wrong and went to the police.

Asked how she now felt about Vertigan, she said she hated him said that what happened had taken away her confidence.

"He has ruined my life. I have no confidence at all."

She said that she found it hard to let people get close to her and also found it difficult to trust people:: "I find it hard to trust anyone."

The trial continues

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