A PAEDOPHILE from Bridgwater has been jailed for 30 months for sexually abusing a young girl over a period of four years.

Dustin Gandley, 37, sexually assaulted the girl, who was aged under 13, a total of 11 times until she told her mother and he was reported to the police.

Taunton Crown Court heard that Jeho-vah’s Witness Gandley was reluctant to admit that more than one incident had taken place.

Prosecuting, Nicolas Gerasimidis said: “He felt that with one indiscretion the church would have accepted him back, but if there were a series of them it would be more difficult.”

Defending, Lawrence Wilcox said Gandley was of previous good character and had no convictions.

He said: “He is a cabinet-maker, but has lost his job, home and his relationship with his wife. He has lost everything.”

Mr Wilcox said Gandley accepted that he deserved prison and would be prepared to undergo a course to ‘cure’ him.

Gandley, of Hamp Brook Way, Bridg-water, pleaded guilty to ten offences of sexual assault against a female under 13 and one charge of inciting the victim to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing, Judge Graham Hume Jones said: “You took advantage of her to gratify whatever sexual need you had at that particular moment.

“This behaviour had a serious effect on the child, but also on the child’s family and on her mother.”

Gandley was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register and banned from having unsupervised contact with children.

Speaking after the case, the mother of Gandley’s victim spoke of her devastation, and wanted to warn other parents of potential signs of abuse and to encourage them to report any suspected cases.

She said: “She had always been a friendly, loveable child, but it had affected her moods and she became very stroppy.

“I would advise other parents to look out for any change in moods as other than that we didn’t see any signs.

“When my daughter told me a calmness came over her – she had obviously been carrying a burden.

“I was gobsmacked. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

“We did our best to look after her and thought we’d protected her from harm’s way, but obviously this wasn’t the case.

“I feel the sentence is light, but if he learns from it and gets the help he says he wants then some good has come out of it.”