A brave survivor of sexual abuse has said how she wants to encourage others to report to police, after a man was jailed for offences against her.

Darren Pinner, 54 of Coldnailhurst Avenue, Braintree appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, January 11 where he was sentenced to 4-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple sexual offences.

An investigation was launched by Essex Police’s child abuse investigation team in November 2020, after a member of the public reported witnessing concerning behaviour from Pinner in a park with a young girl.

He was arrested the same day on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity with a girl.

Further enquiries revealed other offences and in 2021, Pinner was charged with two counts of meeting a girl under the age of 16 from grooming and two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a girl.

After pleading guilty, he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, January 11, where he was sentenced to four and half years in prison. Pinner was also issued with a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a 10-year restraining order against the victim.

Since the sentence, the survivor has bravely spoken out saying the following: “I was scared and nervous, embarrassed, alone, but seeking out close family and friends really helped me. The investigation wasn't anything I thought it would be, but waiting for the final court date made such a relief that I now sleep better and worry less.

“My independent sexual violent advisor was amazing; she helped with getting me counselling which helped me through really tough times.

“Cara were really helpful, and you can get pre-trial counselling and after-trial counselling. I would definitely recommend Cara to everyone because it very good support system.

“To all the survivors out there: you are not alone, you are worth it, and living in fear every day is not going to get you anywhere unless you get closure! It is not your fault, and it never will be!

“Reading my victim statement out loud in court made me happy and relieved that I could say what I've been wanting to say for a while. It definitely helped me distress a lot more after he was sentenced to prison and knowing I wouldn’t run into him.”

With all sexual offence investigations, Essex Police’s Crime and Public Protection Team work alongside partners, to ensure that the survivor is supported throughout the investigation and court process.

Claire Rooney, an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) from CARA said “The survivor in this case demonstrated incredible strength throughout the investigation.

“I am so proud of the determination she has shown to put a dangerous perpetrator behind bars. Whilst she may never forget what happened to her, I hope that she is able to move forward knowing that Pinner cannot harm anyone else.

“Within my role as an ISVA, we often find that survivor’s were reluctant to report as they feared they wouldn’t be believed. I can promise that anyone who finds the strength to report what happened to them will be believed, no matter how recent the offence took place.

“We work alongside the police, however we are independent. We will support the survivor, explain court and police processes, allowing the investigating officers to carry out enquiries.

“CARA, which is the Centre for action on rape and abuse represent the rights and needs of a survivor and we can be contacted directly from those who have experienced sexual abuse, whether it has been reported to the police or not.”

Synergy Essex provides specialist support for victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages and all genders across Essex, Thurrock and Southend.