A TEENAGER said the vicar who molested her had “ruined her life”, a court heard.

Paedophile Canon Robert Bailey was caged for eight years and four months. Sending him down, Judge Peter Crabtree told the former Bishop Cannings vicar: “The only person who should feel guilt in this case is you.”

Swindon Crown Court heard the 71-year-old had abused two girls over several years.

One was under 13 when he molested her, while the other was nine when he began abusing her at a later date.

Bailey was a chaplain in the RAF for 24 years, including at Lyneham, and later served the parish of Bishops Cannings.

He would touch the girls sexually and also get them to touch him as they watched television or as they lay in his bed.

In a statement, read to the court by prosecutor Christopher Stopa, the vicar’s younger victim said: “I don’t want the judge or anyone to know how I feel. I don’t want to talk about my feelings.”

She added: “I get angry a lot and say horrible things but it’s because I don’t know what to do. He has ruined my life.”

A mother read her victim statement to the court, her voice cracking as she said: “This man who’s lived his whole life as a man of God should never be allowed to harm anyone... and no amount of remorse will take away what he’s done.”

Mr Stopa said police were told of the abuse after the woman had been told what had been going on.

The older girl spoke of having first been molested by the man when she was eight or nine and had mistakenly got into his bed.

On another occasion he had tried to kiss her four or five times, it was said.

However, he was only charged with one allegation against the older child, when she was around 11 or 12. Bailey had invited her into his room after she was scared about a spider. He had used her hand to touch himself as they lay in his bed.

The younger girl thought she was around nine when the man began abusing her. It lasted until she told him to stop.

The court heard how he would touch her while they sat on the sofa watching TV and also molested her on the floor of his office.

Bailey told the girls they shouldn’t tell anyone about what had happened, saying he could get into a lot of trouble if anyone found out.

Police found a story on his computer of an older man having sex with young girls, although he denied being the author.

He admitted the offences when he was interviewed by detectives in 2018 but it wasn’t until two years later that he was put before the courts.

Bailey, formerly of Brampton, Cumbria, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault of a girl under 13 by touching.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client was genuinely remorseful. He had himself been abused as a child but had kept the secret hidden for 60 years and was only now getting help.

“As night follows day we know people who are abused end up as abusers. It happens so regularly as to be almost a logical step,” the lawyer said.

“The girls can and should receive the sort of help I know is available now.”

He had no previous convictions to his name.

The Bishop of Carlisle was among those to provide a character reference.

A probation report deemed him a high likelihood of reoffending and said he posed a high risk of serious harm to girls.

He was said to have claimed he believed his younger victim had enjoyed his actions. Bailey must comply with a life-long sexual harm prevention order and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.