A SENIOR Jehovah’s Witness from Redditch has been jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a “terrified” schoolgirl while preaching door-to-door.

Thomas Brian Jenkins (referred to as Brian Jenkins in court), from Landor Road in Greenlands, groped the girl during missionary work, at bible classes and at swimming lessons organised by the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Wales in the early 1970s.

A court heard Jenkins, 75, took advantage of the religion’s ban on females wearing trousers to force his hand up the girl’s skirt.

He sent her older brother to knock doors trapping the girl in the back seat of his car to molest her.

The court heard Jenkins tried to get his fingers inside her costume while pretending to teach her to swim.

The sex attacks happened while the girl and her family were members of the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brecon, Powys, where Jenkins was an elder.

The girl reported Jenkins to two elders, a doctor and ex-police officer, but they just “grinned”.

Now, aged 58, she told the jury: “I’m angry at Jehovah’s Witness elders and the governing body for the lack of protection they provide to children.

“There is no safeguarding. They do not report it to the authorities because they want to deal with it in house.

“Then it doesn’t get dealt with.”

The victim was aged between 12 and 14 when Jenkins targeted her after her father died tragically.

She told the court: “I was terrified. I tried everything I could to get out of being round that person.

“My father wasn’t around and my mother didn’t listen to my pleas.

“I was a young girl, I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I didn’t have the power or the words to avoid it.”

The girl tried to leave the church to avoid Jenkins but was “reprimanded” by male elders for not attending meetings and bible study classes.

Married Jenkins claimed the girl made up the allegations because she had a grudge against the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

He described himself in court as “a helpful bloke who wanted to teach young people to swim”.

A jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court took an hour to find him guilty of six charges of indecent assault.

The victim wept in the public gallery as the chairman of the jury gave the unanimous verdicts.

Judge Daniel Williams said Jenkins had shown “breathtaking arrogance” in the witness box during the three-day trial.

He told him: “These offences are between 44 and 46 years old but they are not part of history as far as your victim is concerned.

“She lives with the consequences of your actions every day of her life.

“The contrast between her courage and your breathtaking arrogance when giving evidence could not have been greater.”

The court heard Jenkins was a Jehovah's Witness elder until 1991 when he was jailed for 21 months at Worcester Crown Court for a series of similar sex offences.

Judge Williams said Jenkins would go on the sex offenders’ register for life.