A woman whose childhood was spent in fear of a Brighton handyman has spoken of how she took back control of her life after he was jailed for three years for child sex and cruelty offences.
John Denian, 65, a handyman, of Dewe Road, Brighton, was sentenced on Friday after a jury previously found him guilty of gross indecency and indecent assault and cruelty to his victim in the 1980s, beginning when she was just five years old.
But although the woman said the attacks on her had ruined her childhood, she had been determined to give evidence in person to show Denian that she had taken back control of her life.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said after Denian was convicted: “My childhood was filled with fear, uncertainty, misery and the feeling I had nowhere to turn as a result of the violence and abuse I experienced.
“I felt conscious of small things every day, even what I wore and how I presented myself. I spent years feeling petrified of John Denian and it has been extremely difficult for me to come forward and speak about this but it was the right decision to do so.
“I also chose to give my evidence in court without the use of screens or video link because I wanted to face him as an adult, and show him I have control of my own life and I wasn’t afraid of him any more.
“I am delighted that he has been convicted and I can now move forward with the continued support of my friends and partner.”
Detective Constable Sarah Townsend said; “Denian took advantage of the vulnerability of this young girl, who he knew, for many years, starting when she was barely five years old.
“It was a quite appalling breach of trust and only a year ago did she feel able to come forward and tell us what had happened to her over so many years.
“We admire her bravery in coming forward and giving evidence/being prepared to give evidence. It shows that we will always take such reports seriously and will investigate wherever possible.”
Denian was sentenced at Brighton Court for incitement to gross indecency and indecent assault on a girl aged between 5 and 10 between 1980 and 1985, and cruelty to the same girl between 1980 and 1991.
He was sentenced to one year for the indecency offences, and two years, to run consecutively, for the child cruelty offence.
He will be a registered sex offender for ten years.