A 66-YEAR-OLD rapist who has committed serious sexual offences throughout his adult life has been jailed for 19 years for abusing two young girls.

Christopher Benton raped both children when they were aged about ten, or younger, as well as carrying numerous other sex offences against them.

The perverted pensioner, who has a previous conviction for rape from the 1970s, repeatedly molested the first of the victims in the 1990s.

He then carried out a similar campaign of abuse on the other victim during the early part of the current decade.

And when they were out of his clutches he resorted to downloading indecent images of children to satisfy his sick lust.

Benton, formerly of Fullers Avenue, Cricklade, forced the victims to go through the harrowing experience of giving evidence by denying all of the charges.

But following an eight day trial at Swindon crown court a jury convicted him of all 21 charges - including the indecent images which were found on his computer.

Robin Shellard, defending, told the judge he had no mitigation for the offences after fighting the trial, but pointed out he would serve two thirds of any sentence.

He said "The reality is that the sentence Your Honour passes today, of not a life sentence, is almost as makes no difference."

Passing sentence Judge Tim Mousley QC said "You have been convicted by a jury of 21 counts relating to your sexual activity throughout nearly all of the 1990s and again between 2010 and 2012.

"In the 1990s you would have been in your 40s, you are now in your 60s. You have previous in 1977 for rape and attempted rape when you would have been in your 20s.

"You have been committing serious sexual offences for most of your adult life. These offences relate to your abuse of two young girls.

"They at least have got justice or at least a measure of it and as a result of them having the courage to give evidence before a jury, painful and difficult thought that obviously was.

"At least being believed and seeing you convicted they have one hopes perhaps taken an important step in their attempts to recover from what you did to them.

"But their lives are ruined and that is due to what you did. They were very young at the time. One was less than ten years old and the other not much older.

"Your predatory conduct towards them was prolonged, persistent and frequent.

"They are permanently scarred emotionally and psychologically to an extent that many of us simply cannot imagine.

"Some years after you resorted to watching indecent images of young girls on your computer to satisfy yourself.

"These offences themselves are so serious because the girls in them have themselves to be the subject of gross abuse."

As well as the lengthy jail term he also told him he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Prosecutors said at a later date they will be seeking a sexual offences prevention order to restrict his liberty when he is finally released.