A pensioner has been jailed for a sexually abusing girls – 57 years after the first offence.
Stuart Ferguson, aged 70, has been brought to justice for indecently touching children starting in 1964 and ending in 2019.
Police only tracked down his first victim when the second girl bravely spoke up, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
His first victim had told her mother at the time of the offending in the 60s, only to be branded a “liar” and a “slut”.
Jailing him for a total of four and a half years, a judge told Ferguson his first victim was still feeling its impact more than 50 years later.
Turning to the effect on the second victim, Judge Robert Linford said: “She has struggled to sleep, she panics if away from her parents and had to undergo an intrusive medical examination.
“You did that to her. You put her in that position and it was not the first time you molested a child.
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“These offences are far too serious for anything other than an immediate prison sentence.”
Ferguson, now living in Maidstone in Kent, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault against a child between 1964 and 1970.
He admitted another offence of indecency with the child over the same period.
Ferguson also pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a second girl between 2017 and 2019.
The offences happened in Plymouth, another part of Devon and other areas across the country.
Heather Hope, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that the police investigation started when the second victim spoke to her mother in November 2019.
She told police that Ferguson has touched her sexually several times, sometimes under the cover of a game of hide and seek.
Officers tracked down the second victim who said that she too had been sexually abused in the 1960s, sometimes in a dark shed.
She later said she had told her mother what was happening, but she had dismissed the allegations, calling her a “liar and a slut” – though she was too young to know what that meant.
The first victim bravely sat at the back of court while the mother of the second watched on over a videolink.
Miss Hope said the first victim told police the only person she told about the abuse was her second husband, though she had now undergone counselling.
The court heard she still suffered from flashbacks.
The barrister read her words: “Nothing takes away the feeling of being dirty, even though I know I am innocent, I have a feeling that it was my fault.”
The mother of the second victim said that her daughter would go into an “uncontrollable panic” if her parents were not about.
She added: “As parents we have struggled to come to terms with the situation. We have had many sleepless nights.
“We are really proud of her for being so brave but we don’t know what the long-term effects will be. Only time will tell.”
Ali Rafati, for Ferguson, said: “The greatest mitigation on behalf of Stuart Ferguson in relation to both sets of charges is that he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity at the Crown Court.
“Many if not most people charged with these sorts of offences deny their responsibility, causing many months of anguish for those who are told there is going to be a trial.”
He added that the defendant had worked in a variety of jobs, including working at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and Derriford Hospital.
Mr Rafati said Ferguson would come out of prison “shrouded in disgrace”.
He added: “Otherwise in his life he has managed to achieve quite a lot of good.”
The barrister said that Ferguson denied ever telling his first victim not to tell anyone.