A 61-year-old  has been jailed for 17 years for a series of sex assaults on young girls, some committed as long ago as 1982.

Victims of Ronald Slater, who are now in their 30s, were in the public gallery at Worcester Crown Court as details of his crimes were given by prosecutor Jennifer Josephs.

Slater, of Abberley Close, Redditch, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and rape. He showed no emotion as he was led from the dock to begin his sentence.

Miss Josephs said that after complaints were made to the police about his activities, he claimed that it was only "mutual fondling".

But there was no doubt that his victims had been deeply distressed by his conduct.
Slater had no previous convictions and his barrister, Sarah Buckingham, told the court that he is, and was, a paedophile. He was known for charity work he had carried out.

Judge Michael Cullum said the charges before the court were only specimens and covered a nine-year period of sexual misconduct between 1982 and 1991. His activities had degraded his victims and turned their lives into "a living hell".

He ordered that Slater should register as a sex offender for life.