A FORMER County Durham shopkeeper who abused a girl decades ago is starting an 11-year prison sentence after hearing how his victim continues to be haunted by his crimes.

Raymond Wild was told by a judge at Teesside Crown Court: "I cannot accept this was opportunistic. You took advantage of a situation. She was too young to realise what you were doing was sexual."

Wild's victim confronted him in the 1990s and he admitted what he had done, apologised and said he thought she had enjoyed it, said prosecutor Paul Cleasby.

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But he later convinced others that he had done nothing wrong, it was all lies, and manipulated the situation to paint his accuser as a trouble-maker, Mr Cleasby said.

In 2002, she went to police but it was felt there was not enough evidence to proceed, but after she sought a review in 2015, Wild - also a former police officer - was charged.

He was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault after a trial last month. The jury could not decide on a further two counts of sexual assault and two of indecency with a child.

In an impact statement given before the trial, the victim said: "My childhood was ruined. He had become my worst nightmare and he made me keep what he was doing to me a secret.

"The shame, guilt and troubles that came from being an abused child has been literally harrowing. At times, I have such intrusive thoughts which lead to anxiety and depression. He was emotionally abusing me throughout my adult life."

A statement made after the trial adds: "I don't understand why he did not plead guilty because he knew what he had done, and admitted it to me.

"He could have chosen to prevent this. Having to give evidence against him felt like I was on trial, not him. What he did was so wrong."

After working as a police officer for four years in Hartlepool, Wild opened what was called an antiques and fancy goods shop called Fancy Times in Barnard Castle.

His barrister Matthew Morgan said he went on to work in furniture distribution, various sales jobs and for an engineering company after moving south with his family.

Mr Morgan provided letters from the grandfather's children and neighbours which described him as widely-liked, respected, honest and kind.

Wild's disabled wife will have to sell their £300,000 home in Heybridge, Maldon, Essex, and move into rented accommodation as a result of his imprisonment, and her inability to work after falling from a loft and fracturing her spine, as well as suffering from other ailments.

Judge Howard Crowson ruled that he must serve an additional two years under supervision, and accepted that he had not proved to be a danger to children since his younger years.

After the case an NSPCC spokesperson said: “Following his time as a police officer, Wild would have been very much aware of the devastating impact sexual abuse has on children.

“He not only subjected his victim to sexual assault but then forced her to endure a trial because of his denials of guilt.

“Her courage in coming forward and giving evidence has helped to ensure justice is served, and it is vital she now receives all the support she needs to move forward.”

Adults with any issues or concerns can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can call Childline on 0800 1111, or get help online at www.childline.org.uk.A FORMER County Durham shopkeeper who abused a girl decades ago is starting an 11-year prison sentence after hearing how his victim continues to be haunted by his crimes.

Raymond Wild was told by a judge at Teesside Crown Court: "I cannot accept this was opportunistic. You took advantage of a situation. She was too young to realise what you were doing was sexual."

Wild's victim confronted him in the 1990s and he admitted what he had done, apologised and said he thought she had enjoyed it, said prosecutor Paul Cleasby.

But he later convinced others that he had done nothing wrong, it was all lies, and manipulated the situation to paint his accuser as a trouble-maker, Mr Cleasby said.

In 2002, she went to police but it was felt there was not enough evidence to proceed, but after she sought a review in 2015, Wild - also a former police officer - was charged.

He was found guilty of three charges of sexual assault after a trial last month. The jury could not decide on a further two counts of sexual assault and two of indecency with a child.

In an impact statement given before the trial, the victim said: "My childhood was ruined. He had become my worst nightmare and he made me keep what he was doing to me a secret.

"The shame, guilt and troubles that came from being an abused child has been literally harrowing. At times, I have such intrusive thoughts which lead to anxiety and depression. He was emotionally abusing me throughout my adult life."

A statement made after the trial adds: "I don't understand why he did not plead guilty because he knew what he had done, and admitted it to me.

"He could have chosen to prevent this. Having to give evidence against him felt like I was on trial, not him. What he did was so wrong."

After working as a police officer for four years in Hartlepool, Wild opened what was called an antiques and fancy goods shop called Fancy Times in Barnard Castle.

His barrister Matthew Morgan said he went on to work in furniture distribution, various sales jobs and for an engineering company after moving south with his family.

Mr Morgan provided letters from the grandfather's children and neighbours which described him as widely-liked, respected, honest and kind.

Wild's disabled wife will have to sell their £300,000 home in Heybridge, Maldon, Essex, and move into rented accommodation as a result of his imprisonment, and her inability to work after falling from a loft and fracturing her spine, as well as suffering from other ailments.

Judge Howard Crowson ruled that he must serve an additional two years under supervision, and accepted that he had not proved to be a danger to children since his younger years.

After the case an NSPCC spokesperson said: “Following his time as a police officer, Wild would have been very much aware of the devastating impact sexual abuse has on children.

“He not only subjected his victim to sexual assault but then forced her to endure a trial because of his denials of guilt.

“Her courage in coming forward and giving evidence has helped to ensure justice is served, and it is vital she now receives all the support she needs to move forward.”

  • Adults with any issues or concerns can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can call Childline on 0800 1111, or get help online at www.childline.org.uk.