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12 November 2016, 07:25
A man from Crawley who groomed and then abused two young girls has been jailed for four and a half years.
Andrew Ward, 53, unemployed, of Honeysuckle Lane, Crawley, was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls, both aged 11, at his home between 2014 and 2015. The jury also found Ward guilty of taking an indecent photograph of another girl, aged under 13.
Ward will be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), severely restricting his access to children.
Detective Constable Nicola Beard, of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Team, said; "He was in a position of trust in relation to all three young victims and in effect groomed them and their parents in order to gain access to them and commit the offences.
"These were all gross abuses of trust and the court has recognised that in the sentence it has passed. We also praise the bravery of the young victims coming forward and giving evidence at court
"Anyone with concerns about the behaviour of others in relation to children should always contact us via 101 and arrange to speak in confidence to experienced detectives."