Sophie Thomas did not feel like other teenagers when she was young. Because, at the age of 13, she was sexually abused by a man.

"I hit rock bottom about four months after the event. I was so scared as a child, my anger had got much worse, I would hide in my bedroom after I had finished school," said Sophie, now aged 21

Her abuser, then aged 35, was convicted of sexual activity with a child, and sentenced to six years imprisonment with an extended four years licence. He was also registered as a sex offender indefinitely, and barred from working with children. Sophie's claim to have seen him from a vehicle as he walked by with a baseball hat on, and now with facial hair, is believed by a source at the Ministry of Justice to have been a case of mistaken identity.

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But his crime against Sophie in 2013 has, as you might expect, had a lasting, huge impact on her life. And it was made even worse when she believes she saw her abuser near the Aldi store in Llanelli earlier this month, following his release on licence after serving time, despite her understanding that he had been banned from his home town as part of his licence condition.

Dyfed-Powys Police said they had shared the report of a potential breach of licence conditions with the Probation Service. The Ministry of Justice has said it is investigating the allegation.

Sophie, who has waived her right to anonymity as a victim of sexual abuse, but decided not to be pictured, said the alleged sighting had brought back memories of her terrible experience.

She said: "It will and always will be very difficult to explain how much of an impact this has had, not only on my life, but the mother I am to my children. I fear going out with them. I spend a lot of time still crying about what happened to me. It has changed my life.

Referring to when she was younger she said: "My teenage years had gone. I felt I wasn’t like any other teenager."

For months I would to try and convince myself that it never happened.

The 13-year-old Sophie had called at the Hick Street, Llanelli, home of her abuser to see someone else who lived there. He told the unsuspecting youngster the person she had come to see was in the house and invited her in - but they weren't there, and instead he abused Sophie.

Traumatised by what had happened to her, the young teen then went to school and confided in a friend, who told a member of staff who then contacted police - and her abuser was arrested shortly after. But Sophie's ordeal didn't end there - she was forced to give evidence during a three-day trial at Swansea Crown Court the following year, in which she had to relive her experience.

Sophie said: "For months I would to try and convince myself that it never happened, but that was very difficult with police contacting me all the time. When I finally realised I had to face reality of going to court at the age of 14, it hit me.

"When he was found guilty it was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I finally realised I could go out without the risk of seeing him, but I would rarely go out anywhere alone. Teenagers used to go out on the weekends and after school, I always used to be the one to stay in. It was a very difficult time for me.

"I had no-one to talk to, I didn't get any professional support until after the court trial, so I was dealing with things for a year by myself. I went through the hardest part alone. At the age of 13 such a traumatic experience with no help was very difficult. I went into severe depression and started to harm myself in ways I wish I never had.

"The impact on my family was very upsetting, they did not know what to say to me, I would hate to talk about what happened. My grandmother was the most upset with what this monster had done to me.

"My life at the time had been on such a high and I couldn’t have wished for it to be better; I had transferred schools to a much better place where I would get much more support with learning in school, then this happened to me. I realised my life had changed and I would never be the same. My teenage years and young adulthood had been taken away from me.

"I was very confused on why this had happened to me. I thought, 'why me?'. Then I realised it has made me such a strong person dealing with it all alone. I was a child when this had happened to me. His time in prison is nothing compared to the mental, emotional and physical punishment he inflicted upon me.

"When you are young you think in your head you would be going out camping, have sleepovers, having a laugh with your friends, but my childhood was wrecked with fear and depression. People who meet me think I have turned out fine, but the people the closest to me know the impact this has had on my life. I am still trying to find myself. His punishment is nothing compared to how much I have been through and am still going through".

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Life has since taken a happier turn for Sophie. She has been in a relationship for the past five years, and the couple have two young children.

She said: "Alex, my partner, has been really supportive."

She said he was with her in the car when she believes she saw her abuser.

Ever since he got out of prison, I've been afraid to go out

"I knew it was him straight away, even though he'd grown facial hair and had a baseball hat on. You don't forget someone who did something like that to you. I told Alex - that's him," she claimed.

"Ever since he got out of prison, I've been afraid to go out. I have been scared to take my children to the park in case I see him, even though I know he's not allowed in the town. So to actually spot him was a huge shock. I can't believe he came back to town," she alleged.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police said: "We received a report of a potential breach of licensing conditions following a man’s release from prison. The information has been shared with Probation Service colleagues as the lead agency on such matters."