A former stallholder has been jailed for three years after abusing a schoolgirl in a van.
Michael Smith, now 71, was manager of Matlock market and used to sell jewellery there at the time of the offences.
Details were given to at jury at Derby Crown Court, who found him guilty of four offences when his victim was aged between six and eight.
After seeing him sent to prison on Tuesday, May 14, the victim said: “I feel as if I was in hiding but I have put that weight on his shoulders. I wanted justice and the most important thing was when the jury found him guilty.
“I had not spoken to anyone because it was horrible and scary – but I would now tell others to go to the police.
“The only reason it took so long was because I didn’t have the courage until now. I couldn’t trust anyone but the police have been brilliant and really kind.”
Smith, of Holbrook Street, Heanor, was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and banned from being alone with anyone under 18.
The jury had found him guilty of inciting a child to commit a sexual act; two counts of gross indecency and one of indecent assault.
After the hearing, the girl added: “I know he is an old man but what he did to me was horrible and I have carried that for years. Since the trial, I have got some confidence and didn’t think he deserved to die a free man.”
Detective constable Emily Town, who investigated the case, said: “I praise the bravery of the victim and her family for finding the courage to come forward.
“There was also her bravery in having to re-live her ordeal in court.
“Hopefully, the sentence will allow her to put this behind her and move forward with her life.”
“Smith never admitted his crimes or shown any remorse. Being sent to prison reflects the severity of the crime.
“Derbyshire police take reports of sexual abuse very seriously and historical cases, such as this one, will be investigated thoroughly.”
Recorder David Mason QC told Smith: “These incidents clearly had a lasting effect.
“Thankfully the abuse stopped suddenly and you have not been in trouble since nor had you been in trouble prior to these offences.”
Smith did not give evidence at his trial. Martin Hurst, defending, said: “He either does not remember or continues to deny it.”
Mr Hurst said Smith acted as carer for his wife, who uses a wheelchair and may have to go into care if deprived of his support.
He also has a son who suffers from epilepsy.