THE third alleged victim of a former council boss told a jury she broke her silence more than 20 years after she claims she was sexually abused because she feared other children could be at risk.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke down as she gave evidence at Southampton Crown Court against Robert Giddings, who faces four charges of indecent assault on three girls under the age of 14.

Speaking through the tears she said that she was reluctant to speak up after so long because she didn’t want to tell her parents as it was the “hardest part” and she didn’t want to upset them.

But when asked by prosecutor Nick Tucker why she did finally speak to police last year she told the court that she feared “that it would happen to other children”. She added that her mum was angry when she was told and that her dad was “shocked and crying”.

The charges against Giddings, now aged 54 and living in Ringwood, relate to alleged sexual abuse during the 1980s and 1990s.

He denies all the charges.

The father-of-three is a well known figure in the New Forest, where he was, until last year when he was arrested and charged, sales director and partner at RF Giddings, a sawmill run by his family in Bartley.

He has also been chairman of governors at Netley Marsh Infant School and was the long-standing chairman of Netley Marsh Parish Council – a post he quit last February around the time he was questioned by police.