A 73-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed after sexually abusing young children over a period of ten years.

George Errington pleaded guilty to several charges of sexual assault, but denied two further sexual assault charges, forcing his victims to go to trial at Durham Crown Court.

Errington was found guilty by a jury but shook his head when the charges were mentioned during a sentencing hearing at Durham Crown Court on Thursday, May 23.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said one of Errington’s victims told a relative about the abuse, but was unable to repeat the statement to police so no charges were brought against him.

Mr Lamb said the incident in effect gave Errington “a green light” to continue with his behaviour.

He read out victim statements from four people who described the defendant as “manipulative” and “arrogant” and “confident he would not be caught.”

David Callan, mitigating, said Errington had no previous convictions and had previously worked as a manager at a tyre factory.

He added: “It’s a mystery as to why the defendant suddenly started to behave like this.”

The offences took place over a ten-year period.

One victim said the abuse had brought on anxiety, depression and frequent nightmares, and another had to leave work and was seeing a counsellor.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Errington that his behaviour had had a devastating impact on his victims.

He added: “The victim personal statements set out the long term impacts. There are elements of your behaviour that suggest arrogance, in a way that you thought you would not be held accountable for it.”

Errington, of Langley Park, County Durham, was jailed for a total of nine years and banned from being in contact with children unless parents were present.