A woman who has lived with the devastating effects of child abuse for 25 years has spoken out after seeing her attacker jailed.
Now in her thirties, the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, was subjected to horrific sexual abuse by Matthew Lungley in 1990 when she was just seven years old.
When the jury said guilty I just sobbed, I was trying to say thank you to them, I fell to the floor and I couldn’t walkLungley’s victim
Vile Lungley, 41, preyed on the child, who was a family friend, when he was 17 and she went to his home in Pitstone to play.
He was sent to prison for six years on February 13, after his brave victim came forward, and appeared in the witness box during his indecent assault trial.
Now she wants to encourage other people who have been abused not to suffer in silence.
She said: “When I had my daughter it was supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life.
“Things like that are supposed to make everything better, but my first thought was ‘how could anyone do that to a child?’ It made me so angry.”
The woman, who has suffered depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse, added: “I feel so relieved that justice has been done, I feel like a weight has been lifted off.
“I have been through 25 years of hell and it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I still can’t believe that he is behind bars and I hope that he gets exactly what he deserves while he is in there.”
And, although giving evidence and revisiting that part of her life has been hard, the woman says she hopes speaking out will give other victims the reassurance they need to come forward.
She said: “When the jury said guilty I just sobbed, I was trying to say thank you to them, I fell to the floor and I couldn’t walk. He was doing everything he could to try and delay it, like turning up without a solicitor, he wanted me to crack.
“But I couldn’t because, as nervous as you get you find inner strength. I just thought how would I feel if he was able to just go back and start his normal life again.
“He will be on the sex offenders’ register now, his life is over and children are safer.”
When the assaults first took place the victim told her parents who reported it to the police, but at the time they were advised not to take it any further, as putting a seven year old through a trial would be traumatic.
The woman said: “Justice has been done and my parents did the right thing at the time, times were different then, I would like to thank my police officer Paula Benson who has been brilliant. I just want anyone out there reading this to know that you can get justice no matter how long ago it was.”