Kiwi jailed in UK for sex attacks on girls

Last updated 13:04 17/07/2013

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A New Zealander has been jailed in Britain for sex attacks on young girls, including the rape of three.

A police inquiry found retired trawlerman Martin Lindsay Thomas, 63, carried out five attacks on girls aged six to 10 over nearly a decade without any of his young victims summoning the courage to report what he had done.

The offending came to light after a dinner lady overheard a 6-year-old girl talking about male genitalia and suspected something was wrong, the Daily Mail reported.

The victims all told similar stories of abuse and all remembered Thomas by his distinctive accent, which they mistakenly thought to be Australian.

Thomas denied the allegations and said he had only been alone with children on very rare occasions and that his wife was home most of the time.

He was found guilty of raping three girls, as well as one incident of sexual assault, and one of indecency with a child, after three girls gave almost identical accounts of being abused.

Exeter Crown Court was told Thomas lured five girls into his home by offering to teach them about wildlife in his garden pond, but once they were there he forced them to take part in sex acts with him.

Thomas lived in Brixham, South Devon and targeted girls living nearby.

Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, jailed Thomas for 19 years with a possible further six years on extended licence, saying "the level of depravity was exceptional".

"The victims... were allowed to go to your house because you were trusted by their parents.

"When the opportunity arose you abused them. At the time they did not realise what was happening and they were unable to prevent you committing these offences," the judge said.

"It was part of your pattern of depravity that you took as many risks as you could. It seems to be there is such a risk of future offending that you are a very dangerous man indeed."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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