A MAN has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of sexual abusing a girl when she was just seven years old.
Patrick Costelloe, 57, of Chesford Road, Luton was found guilty of indecent assault, attempted rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was sentenced on Thursday, March 16 and also also handed a lifetime notification requirement and an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.
Bedfordshire Police have now shared an impact statement from Costelloe's victim, who said the abuse has left her feeling 'scared, dirty and lost'.
'I don't know who I am anymore'
Costelloe sexually abused the girl on several occasions between 2004 and 2006 when she was around the ages of seven and eight.
Several years later, when she was an adult, she found the courage to tell a family member about the abuse.
"For 20 years, I have had to live with what happened to me," the victim said in her impact statement.
"It has affected all aspects of my life and I've hidden it for so long that I feel like I don't know who I am anymore.
"Whenever I think about what happened, I feel scared, dirty and lost.
"I've isolated myself, avoided interaction with others and missed out on doing things most teenagers and young adults would normally do."
'Pain and trauma'
Police also received a report from another victim who had been sexually abused by Costelloe in 2006 when she was nine years old.
She described in her victim impact statement that she tried to put the memories and nightmares in a box out of her mind, but as an adult she now understands what happened to her and this is hard to deal with.
Detective Constable Natalie Miller, from Bedfordshire Police's Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said she hoped the sentence could help Costelloe's victims move on.
"Child sexual abuse is one of the most heinous of crimes and we work tirelessly to support the victims through an investigation and bring these perpetrators to justice," she said.
"I am pleased that Costelloe received a lengthy sentence after he thought it was acceptable to take advantage of, sexually abuse and inflict pain and trauma on two young girls in the way that he did.
"Although his sentence can't take away what they have been through, I hope it is of some condolence to them and they are able to move forward with their lives."