A MONSTER who repeatedly raped a little girl has been jailed for 24 years.

Jonathan Smith sexually abused the girl for several years, using blackmail and threats to keep her silent.

It included abusing her with her own Barbie doll, and raping her, telling her they had a “special relationship”.

Smith, 57, also known as Jonathan Grieves-Smith, has been described as an “inspirational conductor” who works with choirs worldwide, and was musical director of Brighton Festival Chorus from 1983 to 1998.

His victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, described her “torture” and says she has been “haunted” every day by what the paedophile did.

“It was like a TV series of awfulness,” she said.

In a Skype hearing before Hove Crown Court, Judge Paul Tain said the victim had made attempts on her own life. He jailed Smith for a total of 24 years after he was extradited from Australia earlier this year to stand trial.

Richard Hearnden, prosecuting, read out statements of the victim and those close to her.

He said Smith had groomed the victim, acted in a breach of trust, and said the offences which included indecent assault, rape and buggery had happened “many, many times”. She was just five years old when the abuse started.

Meanwhile one person who knew the victim said they “simply cannot comprehend the cunning, guile, and cruelty” it would take to “hurt a child in this way, not just once, but systematically”.

They said Smith had taken away the child’s innocence, affected her emotional stability, and “warped her entire development”.

Another person close to the victim described Smith’s “repeated, heinous abuse” and said putting the victim through a trial was a “final betrayal”.

The jury found Smith, who previously emigrated to Australia, guilty of 16 counts by a majority of ten to two.

Jane Rowley, defending, said Smith had been described as a renowned conductor and choirmaster who had inspired children, and will now lose contact with his own young family.

Judge Paul Tain said Smith had shown no thought for the victim as a human being.

The judge said: “Many people speak highly of you. However the experience in these courts is that a lot of people of seemingly good character harbour secrets that their friends and family aren’t aware of.

“To anyone taken in by your claims that you are in fact innocent, they would be wrong.

“This case involved targeting, grooming, threats and blackmail and caused severe psychological harm.

“It led the victim into a spiral of despair.”

Smith, who had been living in Melbourne, Australia, was jailed for 24 years and will be a registered sex offender for life.