One of Britain's oldest paedophiles is set to die in prison after being convicted of a sustained campaign of child abuse that began more than 50 years ago.
Sick David Rogers, 84, has finally been brought to justice for abusing three young children. The offences took place in Sunderland and London.
The former soldier was caged for 16 years for molesting a boy and two girls over almost a decade during the 1960s and 70s.
One victim told Plymouth Crown Court through a statement that she had suffered a 'life-long nightmare.'
The abuse came to light only late last year when the victims raised the alarm over a suspected incident of child abuse - where they feared Rogers may be the culprit.
Jailing him for 16 years, Judge Ian Lawrie told Rogers: "The likelihood is that he will die in prison."
He added: "Rogers' actions, individually and cumulatively in respect of all three victims, were a carefully contrived and manipulative exercise in exploiting the extreme youth of these children, which was inevitably accompanied by a vulnerability arising from their profound ignorance of life."
Rogers, now a frail pensioner using a crutch, will not be due for release until the half-way point of his sentence, when he is 92.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to 13 counts of indecent assaults of children and three of indecency with a child on various dates between January 1965 and July 1973.
The defendant, of Plymouth, Devon, was in his 30s and 40s at the time.
Prosecuting, Peter Coombe described in detail how Rogers had abused each of the children after getting them on their own.
He added that he gave one boy sweets and told another victim she was a 'good girl.'
One of the victims told the court in a statement read by the judge: "I wasn't going to write this statement. I feel guilt even getting these charges to court. I thought this letter would give me an end to a lifelong nightmare, giving me the life I never had."
Will Willden, for Rogers, said his client attended the police station voluntarily to answer the allegations.
He added: "He is appalled by his behaviour and is devastated he has caused such harm. It is difficult for him to comprehend."
Mr Willden said the defendant had lost his home and his wife had left him.
The barrister said Rogers had a distinguished 17-year career in the Army before working as a plasterer for 30 years.
The NSPCC welcomed the verdict and said that justice had finally been done.
A spokesman said: "Abuse ruins childhoods. These horrendous offences, carried out over nearly a decade, caused Rogers' three victims an enormous amount of distress both at the time they took place and ever since.
"With this abuse taking place many years ago, Rogers may have thought he had got away with it but, thanks to the bravery his victims have shown in coming forward, justice has finally been served.
"It is absolutely right that people who suffered child sexual abuse feel confident their voices will be heard, no matter how much time has passed since their ordeal."
The NSPCC helpline is available to all adults for free advice and support, 24/7, on 0808 800 5000.