A victim of child sex abuse stood up in court and told her abuser it was time he bore the blame, not her.
The woman was reading her impact statement after Mark Tanner admitted assaults on her decades ago.
She told him: “I was a small child living in fear.
“I’m not now.
“I want my life back now, the life you stole from me.
“I no longer blame myself.
“This is your fault.”
Tanner, 55, of Charlton Boulevard in Patchway, was due to face trial in November last year.
But he pleaded guilty to historic gross indecency with a child and indecent assault.
That presented sentencing judge Martin Picton with a difficult sentencing exercise.
He had to consider how Tanner would have been dealt with at the time of the offences as well as his lack of other convictions.
The judge handed him a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He told him: “This has permeated her life.
“It will always be there because of what you did.
“It is a burden she has had to bear.
“It is a burden she has passed on to you.
“You can’t hide from it now, you are publicly shamed.
“It was a terrible thing to do to a very young girl, you must know that.
“It was wicked behaviour.”
Tanner was ordered to undergo rehabilitation, perform 120 hours of unpaid work, register as a sex offender for 10 years and was banned from working with children and vulberable adults.
He declined to comment as he left Bristol Crown Court.
Nikki Coombe, prosecuting, said when Tanner was a teenager he made the younger girl touch him improperly.
She also reported how he touched her intimately, leaving her in pain.
Her life was blighted for many years due to the lingering damage caused and the effect it had on trust and relationships.
But after confiding to some close confidants she disclosed the abuse to police in 2017.
Catherine Spedding, defending, said her client accepted what he did.
She said he had difficulties at the time but could not explain why he did what he did.
The woman told Bristol Live: “I completely understand why it was difficult for the judge.
“I would have dearly loved him to go to prison.
“But he’s been convicted, he can’t hide from it anymore.
“He’s paid the price.”
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