A VICTIM who was sexually assaulted by a serving soldier after a night out in Colchester has spoken of how her attacker abused the trust between them.

Joshua Meider, 27, was a Lance Corporal serving at Merville Barracks, in Colchester, when he assaulted a woman, aged in her 20s.

The victim was sexually assaulted following a night out in Colchester town centre in April 2018.

Following a three-year investigation, Meider was jailed for two years and six months.

He appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, November 15, for sentence after admitting one charge of sexual assault by digital penetration.

His name will also be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Echo: Joshua MeiderJoshua Meider

The woman he assaulted, who is choosing to remain anonymous, said: “That night completely changed my life and I lost myself as a person. Sometimes I wake up and it feels like it was yesterday.

“The first couple of months I just couldn’t accept it, it didn’t feel real. How could someone I trusted so much do this to me? I don’t think I even left my bedroom I was so miserable and depressed.

“It was only when the evidence came back that it finally sunk in, that this really has happened.”

She described the past few years as “torture”, explaining that her attacker’s actions didn’t just affect her own life, but that of those closest to her.

“My life’s been on hold for the past three years,” she said.

“I lost any motivation to follow a career, do any hobbies, go out with friends. This has been the sole focus of my mind.

“One of the hardest parts is knowing that it didn’t just affect me. The past few years have also been incredibly hard on both my family and friends. At every point throughout the investigation, they’ve gone through it too. Their support has been unbelievable.

“I’m the youngest in my family and it was torture for them to see the mess I was in. It wasn’t just my life his actions changed.

“When I got the call to say he’d been jailed, it was like a massive weight had been lifted off our shoulders. I didn’t realise how much it had held me back until now. All of us are so relieved, I can’t really put it into words.”

Although she was incredibly nervous to report the incident, she would encourage anyone who experiences something similar to tell someone.

“I was so afraid to report it but I’m so glad I did,” she said.

“Throughout the investigation I’ve always been treated with respect and I never felt as if my character was questioned.

“As soon as DS Worton had any updates, he’d phone me. He was completely humble and so easy to talk to.

“I’m so thankful for his hard work - he’s made every day that little bit easier while I’ve been going through the hardest time in my life.”