VICTIMS who came forward to report sexual abuse by a paedophile former soldier have been praised for their courage.

Shane Townson was jailed for ten years at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting a string of indecent assaults.

Six of them were while he was serving overseas in the Royal Transport Corps as a Lance Corporal and four more when he had retired from military service and was living in Colchester.

The abuse took place over more than a decade in the 1980s and 1990s.

Specialist child abuse officers began investigating after the victims came forward in 2017.

Townson, 58, who was living in Vicarage Gate, St Erth in Cornwall, was initially interviewed by Devon Police and made candid admissions about what he had done.

Investigating officer Det Con Rachel Evemy said Townson would now have time to think about what he had done.

“Townson subjected young girls to abuse over a lengthy period of time,” she said.

“In 2017, they bravely came forward as adults and spoke about the abuse they were subjected to as children.

“Townson was then interviewed and he made admissions about his crimes.”

She added: “I would like to praise both women for their courage and I would like to thank other key witnesses for their assistance with this case.

“Townson will now face the consequences of his actions in prison.

“I hope this case will encourage other victims of recent and non-recent abuse to come forward and report information.

“We will take your report seriously and we will look to bring sexual offenders like Townson to court.”

Moving personal statements from the victims read out in court revealed how the abuse when they were young had shaped the rest of their lives.

Judge Emma Peters also sat as a Court Martial judge advocate during the sentencing hearing on Thursday to deal with the incidents which related to when he was in the forces.

She said his actions should be “to his everlasting shame” and that the only thing to his credit was admitting what he had done.