BRAVE Laura Birkett kept the dark secret of her grandad's 'vile' sexual abuse quiet for more than 10 years.
When two other young girls revealed the horrors of their abuse at the hands of paedophile Graham Birkett, she knew it was time to reveal her heartbreaking story.
Birkett, 67, began abusing Laura when she was just six, but she only spoke of her ordeal last year.
She returned from a holiday in Ibiza to give a statement to police. Her evidence helped convict Birkett last month at Gloucester Crown Court. Birkett, a building trade office worker, was sentenced to nine years in jail.
The outside world looked on Birkett as any other normal man.
Laura's family was ripped apart as they struggled to come to terms with Birkett's monstrous double life as a manipulative, controlling paedophile who preyed on young girls. His helpless victims were too young and frightened to fight back.
Now 20, Gloucester care worker Laura, has waived her right to anonymity to speak exclusively to the Citizen in the hope other victims of similar abuse may now come forward.
Laura said she was glad to finally speak out against the abuse she suffered.
"It was a huge relief to get it off my chest," she said.
"I had said nothing for years but when I found out that other girls had said something, I had to speak out too about what happened to me.
"It sounds pathetic now. I thought the other girls were so brave, it made it easier for me as there were two others who had told police what had happened to them.
"I didn't think I would be believed. "Before, I was just six and he told me not to say anything.
"He said to me, 'don't tell nanny or anyone, just say we were talking about the cats'.
"My nan questioned me about it. She asked me four or five times what we were doing in the room.
"All I can remember is my grandad's face when he abused me. When I told the police it was a massive relief.
"Hopefully by speaking out, others will now come forward."
In court, Birkett was told by Judge Jamie Tabor QC at Gloucester Crown Court that his abuse of the girls had been 'dreadful'.
Birkett abused one girl in 1999 and 2000 and the other two last year.
The girls were all aged under 13 at the time.
He pleaded guilty to indecent assault of the six-year-old between October 1999 and November 2000.
He also admitted sexual assault and another offence against another of the girls between January and July 2013.
And he admitted three other sexual offences and one of sexual assault on another of the girls between May and July 2013.
As well as the nine-year jail term the judge made an indefinite sexual offences prevention order against Birkett and told him he must sign the Sex Offender Register for the rest of his life.