A CHIPPENHAM man who repeatedly sexually abused a vulnerable young boy, starting when he was just nine years old, has been jailed for 16 years.

David Acres, of Deansway, forced the young lad to submit to his perverted desires over a seven year period in the 1980s and 1990s.

And the 64-year-old also stubbed out cigarettes on the boy during the repeated sex attacks, a jury was told.

Although Acres denied carrying out the abuse he was convicted following a trial at Swindon Crown Court last month.

The jury heard how the defendant first started to molest the lad when he was just nine years old, in 1984.

A few months later he had sex with the youngster and continued to abuse him until he was 16, in 1992.

Kerry Barker, prosecuting, told the court that as a result of what he had been through the victim, now a man in his early 40s, still suffered psychological damage.

Reading a victim personal statement the court heard that he had trouble sleeping, as he was afraid of his dreams, and turned to drink and drugs to block out the pain.

He said it had taken him so long to come forward and make a formal complaint as he didn't feel emotionally ready earlier.

Mr Barker said that the man had to relive the abuse by giving evidence at trial on two occasions as the first jury failed to reach verdicts.

Acres denied four sex offences but was found guilty at trial.

Frank Abbott, defending, said aside from the convictions his client had led a blameless life and handed in character statements from his wife and her daughter.

He said he had not been in trouble with the police before the offences or since but accepted he was now facing a lengthy jail term.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Blair QC said: "I accept what has been said on your behalf: that since you have not committed any offences and you were a man of previous good character at the time you committed these offences.

"I have most particularly had greatest attention to the fact that this lad had vulnerabilities in terms of his needs in his growing up years, and you took these away from him.

"You have had to consequence of imposing on him severe psychological damage."

As well as jailing him he told him that he would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Detective Constable Debbie Hatch, of Salisbury CID, said: "The victim in this case has been extremely brave in coming forward and reporting this crime and has dealt with the whole process, including the trial, in a dignified manner. As a result of Acres' not guilty plea, the victim had to relive the ordeal he went through as a child in a court room. Understandably, this was extremely difficult and upsetting for the victim.

"I am sure that Acres' actions have no doubt had a long lasting effect on his victim, who until recently, had battled his ordeal in private. I hope this sentencing helps enable him to move forward with his life, knowing justice has been served.

"I also hope this case highlights how seriously the force and CPS take historic sexual abuse, and regardless of how much time has passed since the offences, we will take every action available to bring offenders to justice."

Wiltshire Police encourages all victims of abuse to report it by calling 101, or contacting Swindon Assault Referral Centre (SARC) on 0808 168 0024. This helpline is available 24 hours a day.