The victim of a vile child rapist has broken her silence to reveal why she kept quiet for so long.
The woman, now in her 30s, was sexually assaulted by former soldier Christopher Lawson.
115 years wouldn’t be enough for what he has done. He has destroyed my life.Victim
The brave woman had to relive the ordeal when she gave evidence in court and she has now shown huge courage to speak out publicly.
Lawson was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court to 15 years behind bars, after being convicted by a jury of two offences of rape and three of indecent assault, which he continues to deny.
Holding back the tears his victim said: “I have never seen him properly for years - I just feel numb. I still can’t believe it.
“The whole thing seems surreal. You just really can’t put it into words.
“I’d kept it myself for so long because when I was younger.
“I had no one. I felt so alone, disgusted with myself and so violated.
“I kept quiet because I didn’t think anyone would believe me. I had no proof, it was just my word against his.”
Lawson, 63, of Primrose Terrace, Jarrow, had completed tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Germany during his 20-year career with the Army.
He went on to be employed as a blood transfusion service worker after his discharge.
A “highly regarded” member of his community, he lived his life harbouring a sickening secret.
He was jailed by Judge Edward Bindloss who branded him as posing a “high risk of serious harm to children”.
She added: “I never wanted any of this. I just wanted to try and get on with my life.
“When I was in court he showed no emotion at all.
“The whole process was horrific, from going to the police to going to court, I just kept feeling at times the justice system was going to let me down.
“I really thought it was going to let me down.
“115 years wouldn’t have been enough for what he has done. He has destroyed my life. But I am over the moon with the sentence.
“The counselling is helping me, but for the past two years, my life has come to a stand still.
“I really just want to try and get on with my life now.”
Lawson was sentenced to a 15-year prison term with one year extended licence as well as lifelong sex offender registration and sexual harm prevention order.