The victim of a "monstrous" sexual predator has spoken of the "terrible" abuse he suffered at the hands of a former teacher and town councillor.

Keith Tait, 77, a former headteacher at an Essex school, was convicted of historic sexual abuse against a 14-year-old boy. 

Tait, of North Mill Place, Halstead, represented the Shelley ward on Ongar Town Council for 36 years from 1977 until 2013.

Following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court this week, the sexual predator was convicted of five counts of indecent assault.

In a powerful written statement following the trial, Tait’s victim, from Colchester, said: “I was 14-and-a-half years old.

“I lived in a picture-postcard village near Chelmsford.

“It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in May; the air was thick with the dizzy scents of that month.

“The flowers, the trees, the long grass, the wonderful haze of early summer.

“As I walked along the country roads some of the parents of my friends were out and about. They waved and said hello; I waved back.

“I was still a child, but that was about to change.

“I wanted to go to Chelmsford that afternoon to just 'hang out'. I liked the bustle, I liked the shop windows, I liked watching the people.

“But I had no money for a bus.

“Naively, I stuck my thumb out for a lift.

“The man who picked me up was the headteacher of a primary school in Harlow. He was a member of Ongar Town Council. He was involved in loads of charities.

“Little did I know then that Keith Tait was, in fact, a monster."

Epping Forest Guardian: Keith TaitKeith Tait

“He appeared at my house some weeks later. My mother accepted his credentials. She even thought he would be ‘good for me’.

“I became a victim of terrible sexual abuse at his hands.

“But I couldn’t tell my parents – I thought they would believe him more than me. That’s what he told me, anyway.

“Adulthood came too fast. At 15 I was on hard drugs.

“Still the abuse continued. He gave me money.

“So I stumbled madly away from Essex to follow a band - The Smiths - on tour. Then I returned home.

“But something was wrong. I would meet beautiful young people. Some wanted me as a boyfriend.

"I desperately wanted a relationship; but for some reason I could do nothing but reject them.

“Ten years ago the police arrived at my door. They had been tipped off.

“A decade later, and he finally came to trial. He used his power and influence – even in my own mind - to out-manoeuvre me.

“So do I want revenge? No, not really.

“But I do want everyone who ever knew Keith Tait to know this: He is a manipulative, deceitful and now convicted child molester – that’s all.”