A judge paid tribute to a rape victim for her bravery in giving evidence against the man who subjected her to an ordeal of rape and sexual abuse over a decade ago.

Sentencing Keith Foster to nine years in jail after he was convicted of four offences against her, Judge James Townsend said: “I wish to pay tribute to her for her courage coming forward and having to relive these offences publicly in front of a courtroom.”

The crime cast a “long shadow over her life, affecting her to this day," he said.

Foster, of Wesley Street in Castleford, stood trial at Swindon Crown Court this week charged with two counts of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child and causing a child to watch a sexual act.

The 44-year-old was teary in the dock, flanked by a single security guard, as he was unanimously convicted on all four counts by the jury after three hours and 40 minutes of deliberation.

The court heard the victim was a teenager when it happened and one image she was shown had lingered with her for 15 years.

“You will recall that the defendant himself said ‘I wouldn’t watch such grotesque material’,” prosecutor Ian Fenny told the jury.

“The effects of sexual abuse of this nature are very well known to the court. The jury will be saddened to hear we deal with these cases day in, day out.

“She was traumatised by the whole prospect of giving evidence. She found the whole process extremely overwhelming.”

Father-of-three Foster, who was born in Leeds, had “worked very hard for most of his life, doing all kinds of things”, his barrister Mohammed Rafiq said.

“He’s known about these matters for a couple of years and he has co-operated, we know that, he went to the police station. He answered the questions, didn’t hide behind his right to silence. He attended court and gave his evidence.

“When he is in prison he’ll have the opportunity to do things, go on courses, trades and so forth, and reflect on his actions and try and become a better person when he is released.

“I urge the court to be as lenient as possible under the circumstances. Any period of custody is going to be extremely difficult, but I urge Your Honour to express the sentence as being one which will allow him some light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s going to be a long tunnel.”

Foster will serve two-thirds of his sentence before becoming eligible for release.