A Preston man has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting a school girl when she was just 12 years old.
Robert Weir, 37, was arrested after the youngster broke down as she watched a TV cop drama with her mum and said Weir had attacked her.
Weir, an IT worker, admitted sexually assaulting the youngster but denied a more serious charge of sexual assault and raping the girl.
The youngster, who can not be identified for legal resons, was forced to give evidence during the trial and undergo the trauma of cross-examination.
Speaking after the conviction, her mother told the Evening Post: “It has been horrendous for her. Emotionally it has been abysmal.
“She has not been able to have any counselling to deal with her emotions until after the trial has been dealt with. She was petrified for a good three or four months before the trail. She wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping. It has really affected her badly.
“She has got trust issues - she is very mixed up emotionally and blames herself. She is carrying a lot of guilt on her shoulders.She is refusing to go to school. We can start now to get her on the right track.”
The offences first came to light after the youngster’s parents discovered text messages from Weir on her mobile phone.
She told them Weir had sexually assaulted her and the police were called.
But the youngster made further allegations after becoming upset at a storyline featured in the TV drama The Bill about a teenager who had been raped.
Her mother asked if she would like to change the channel but instead the girl left the room and locked herself in the bathroom, where her mother found her “sobbing her heart out.”
She told her mum she had not told her everything that had happened with Weir and went on to say he had raped her.
She said she was “ashamed and disgusted” about what had happened and feared her family would hate her if they found out.
The girl’s mother said: “She is pleased now that she knows people do believe her. She knew that her family always believed her but it is a big thing to realise that 12 strangers believe her. He (Weir) is an absolute disgrace, He has destroyed my family for his own selfish pleasure.”
Weir, of Greenfield Way, Ingol, admitted sexually assaulting the youngster but denied a more serious charge of sexual assault and rape.
However the jury convicted him of the sex attacks and he will be sentenced on November 15.