A WOMAN who was sexually assaulted by her ‘tyrant’ teacher as a schoolgirl has spoken of her relief after her 40-year fight for justice finally came to an end.

The 53-year-old mum said Grahame Brennand molested her when she was just 10.

Brennand, the 71-year-old former Baxenden St John’s deputy headteacher, has been found guilty of 23 counts of indecent assault and three of cruelty to a child following two trials at Preston Crown Court.

The victim, who is a sales manager but wishes to remain anonymous, has spoken of her depression and lifetime of guilt sparked by the abuse.

She said Brennand’s conviction has ended a four-decade quest for justice after she first found the courage to tell a teacher in her secondary school and her parents, who didn’t believe her.

She also told police, who she said took no action at first.

Now she is suing Lancashire County Council for what happened to her at the school in the 1970s.

The woman, who still lives near the school in Baxenden, thinks it was the fact that her body was well developed that teacher Brennand first singled her out for abuse.

She said: “He paid me more attention than the other girls as I was more developed. It was like I was teacher’s pet and had a lot of attention. But looking back it was a curse as it made me prone to his abuse.”

The mother said he ruled the class with fear and would often beat the boys in front of the class with a ruler.

She said he was much nicer to the girls but still very strict and he would use the ruse of checking her work to fondle her from behind.

She told how Brennand also ran swimming lessons at the now defunct Accrington swimming baths.

She recalled: “I remember one time, I think I was doing breaststroke as I wasn’t very good at it. Mr Brennand was in the pool pretending to help and he put his hand inside my swimsuit and touched me. The male pool attendant spotted him and shouted ‘we’ll have less of that in here.’ And then Mr Brennand moved away.”

She later went on to take part in swimming galas and she says the prize for winning was a girls-only trip to his boat moored on a nearby canal, where more abuse took place.

She added: “There was a group of girls and some were at the front of the boat and the others were at the back. He was showing me how to use the wheel and he started groping me from behind.”

She later moved to secondary school and when she realised what he had done she found the courage to tell a teacher and her parents but they refused to believe her.

She later buried the memories and went on to have a daughter, and it was then that the reality of his abuse came flooding back.

She added: “It really hit me what I had been through, as I could see what would happen if my daughter had been through the same thing. I felt sick and dirty as if I had let him do it. But really there was nothing I could have done back then. But every time I relive what happened it makes me upset and I cry because it takes me back to being a little girl when he was doing those things to me.”

Since then she has been treated for depression and suffers from stress migraines which first started when she was in class with Brennand as a schoolgirl.

She said: “This has overshadowed my whole life. There is not a day in the last 40 years when I haven’t thought about what he did to me. It’s sickening.”

In 2013 she reported Brennand to police but it wasn’t until 2016 when more girls came forward that he was finally caught.

She added: “I have never felt so relived as finally I was being believed. I was angry though that the police didn’t take my complaint seriously in 2013 and had to wait for the others to come forward before they took any real action.

“But at least now he can’t hurt anyone anymore, and now him being jailed has given me some form of closure as I know he is not out there and other girls are safe.

“They should throw away the key as the pervert has shown no remorse. He was just arrogant and seemed to enjoy us giving evidence but now I hope he rots in there.”

The victim’s legal action against the county council is being handled by child abuse specialist lawyer Peter Garsden, of Lancaster-based Simpson Millar Solicitors.

He believes there to be at least another 50 victims of Brennand who are yet to come forward.

Mr Garsden said: “This teacher seems to have ruled by fear and abused with impunity for over three decades. The amount of ex-pupils who gave evidence against him shows how prolific an offender he actually was.”We estimate there to be at least another fifty victims or more out there who were physically or sexually abused by this former teacher.

“Many of his victims are now in their fifties with families of their own and have been living with this guilty secret all their lives. But now that there has finally been justice in court they can start planning their future with some closure. We can help victims get the specialist care and advice they need to cope with the abuse long term. I would urge any more victims out there to come forward and seek legal help to try and help them come to terms with their abuse at the hands of this cruel individual. “

The victim added: “Now I hope that this case helps other people who have been abused to come forward and tell what happened to them.

“I want the people who worked for the council at the time to admit they knew what was going on but sat back and allowed it to happen.”