A WOMAN who had been raped and sexually abused by her stepfather had to endure him walking her up the aisle to her wedding because she had kept her ordeal secret from her family, a court heard.

It was not until many years after her marriage that she finally told her mother what her stepdad had done to her, Gloucester Crown Court was told on.

Her mother then confronted him and he admitted that he had molested the girl when she was aged between 7 and 11 in the late 1980s and early 90s.

On Friday, the stepdad, aged 66 and from Upton St Leonards, was jailed for 11 years after he admitted raping her once and repeatedly sexually assaulting her.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC told the man: “You were in a position of trust to look after her, especially when her mum was out of the house. These are very grave offences.”

He said the stepdad would have to serve at least half the 11-year sentence before being considered for parole.

Prosecutor Philip Warren said the woman, now in her late 30s, was abused when her mum was out working night shifts.

After leaving home at the age of 16 the victim kept in touch with her family but it was a ‘charade,’ he said.

“The defendant even accompanied her up the aisle when she got married although that was not something she wanted.

At that time these matters were still secret and she allowed it for appearances sake.

“She had to bury it when she got married and allow him to walk her up the aisle.”

Mr Warren said it was when the woman had a daughter herself and she reached the age at which she had been abused she could not keep quiet any longer.

“Being a mother of a daughter that age made it all bubble up like a volcano - she did not want the defendant anywhere near her child,” he said.

“She says the experiences she had suffered had finally eaten away at her.

“She told her husband she had been abused but she did not reveal by whom.

"In January this year she finally told her mother, who confronted the defendant and he made partial admissions.

"He was seen by the police and admitted large parts of what his stepdaughter said.”

In a victim statement the woman, now in her late thirties, said the offences had destroyed her relationship with her mother because she blamed her for bringing the man into the house.