A SEX offender has been jailed for 15 years after he was found guilty of a string of crimes against a child.

John Bliss, of Greenmeadow, Gwent appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, March 16, where he faced charges of rape, sexual assault by touching, and causing a girl to engage in sexual activity.

His victim was under the age of 13.

Following a trial, Bliss, 43, was found guilty of seven of the offences and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He has also been issued with a lifelong sexual harm prevention order.

An investigation into Bliss originally began in 2020 after Essex Police were contacted by the victim, who was just a child, to disclose she had been subjected to multiple serious sexual assaults in Harlow.

Essex Police’s child abuse investigation team then led an investigation which resulted in Bliss’s arrest.

When interviewed, Bliss denied the offences, but his sentencing will see him stay behind bars until 2038.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, described the impact the case has had on her life.

She said: “I have constant anxiety which feels like it’s never going away – I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, feeling alarmed and panicked because my mind is telling me that he is standing outside my bedroom.

“I don’t like being away from my home comforts because then I feel unsafe and I don’t like staying around people’s houses, I feel at risk.

“I ask myself, why me? Did I do something wrong? Did I deserve it?”

The victim’s family gave an official statement through the police, which described how they have been dealing with the aftermath of the crime.

They said: “This has been our worst nightmare – something I never thought possible, that anything like this could happen to us.

“Since what happened, we have been picking up pieces to the explosion that has gone off.”

Essex Police’s investigating officer, Sergeant Gemma Marriner, said the force’s crime and public protection team would ensure perpetrators like Bliss will face justice.

She said: “Bliss’ actions on this vulnerable victim were evil and even once he was arrested, he didn’t have the decency to admit what he’d done, resulting in victim and her family being accused of lying.

“The public may underestimate the detrimental effect that these crimes may have on a victim and although she may never forget what has happened, I hope that this sentence can allow her to move forward.

“In sexual offences investigations, victims are often concerned that they will not be believed and that it will be the perpetrators word against theirs, particularly in cases where we do not have any forensic opportunities.

“This is not the case and our Crime and Public Protection Team is formed of officers who are trained and passionate to ensure that dangerous perpetrators get their justice.”