You will always be listened to – that is the message to abuse victims after one man showed real courage to bring his abuser to justice.

John Jeffrey Bell, 63, inflicted horrific abuse on a boy in Darlington over an eight-year period between 1984 and 1992.

The 63-year-old stood trial for 14 charges at Teesside Crown Court in February including eight of indecent assault on a child, three of gross indecency with a child and three of buggery.

Bell, of Chapel Street, Evenwood, denied the offences but was found guilty after a trial and sentenced to 16 years in prison on May 21.

Safeguarding Investigative Officer, John Smith, said the victim showed enormous courage in coming forward and wanted to reassure other victims that they would be listened to and taken seriously.

He said: “The victim has been very brave to come forward and report the horrendous abuse he suffered as a child, it cannot have been easy for him to do this.

“At the trial, the defendant continued to deny the allegations and the jury clearly saw through his lies and convicted him of all 14 charges.

“The sentence reflects the severity of the offending and I hope it will help the victim come to terms with his ordeal and give him some justice.

“The victim has been supported throughout the investigation by myself and an independent sexual violence advocate.

“This case is a good example of where the victim was really the only evidence as everything else was circumstantial and yet a successful prosecution was achieved.

“It also reflects how safeguarding is making it easier and safer for people to come forward to report these events in the knowledge that they will be listened to and believed.”

If you feel you have been a victim of abuse please call 101.