A 72-YEAR-OLD South Cerney man has been jailed for almost seven years for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl on several occasions.

Paul Hurrell of The Leonards, South Cerney pleaded guilty to committing seven sex offences against the girl on various dates between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.

On Friday, Gloucester Crown Court heard that when the girl told a group of friends about what Hurrell had done to her, they got together and confronted him - and he made partial admissions.

Christopher Smyth prosecuting said: “The victim has stated that the offending started when she was just 13-years old when she complained of being ill with tummy ache.

“She told a friend when she was 15 about the abuse and a gang of her friends went to confront Hurrell. He partially admitted to them that he had touched the girl.

“In her victim statement she says that these incidents sent her off the rails and her behaviour meant she had to leave the family home and effectively lived off the streets for a period.

“She felt trapped, worthless and powerless to do anything about it.

“She is now aged 23 and she doesn’t like any form of physical contact and she feels she cannot express her love to anyone. She recalls these events as a horrific period in her life.”

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: “The girl is a victim of grooming behaviour, being as she was a vulnerable individual. It’s obvious the victim is still living with this trauma.

“Hurrell has issues over what he has done. The length of sentence I am considering is significant.”

Sarah Jenkins, defending said: “Hurrell has admitted his guilt to his partner and to the group of the victim’s friends.”

Judge Lawrie said to Hurrell: “At the time of these offences you would have been in your mid-60s. You’ve admitted to a variety of sexual offences with a child. You took advantage of her vulnerability.

“You have caused an emotional ricochet to the victim. You have pleaded guilty sparing this woman from giving evidence in this court."

Judge Lawrie sentenced Hurrell to six years and nine months in prison, placed him on the sex offenders register for life and imposed a ten-year sexual harm prevention order.