71-year-old jailed for 27 months for sex assaults while living in Ilford in the 1970s

A 71-year-old man has been sentenced to 27 months in prison today for a series of sexual assaults while he lived in Ilford between 1972 and 1981.

William Howard played strip poker with a nine-year-old girl and molested two others, aged nine and ten, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He told one girl to sit on his lap and touched her breasts, insisting she kept it a secret, and forced her to touch him at his Ilford home.

And he showed his third victim “how to kiss a boy” and said if she told anyone, she would be “in a lot of trouble”, the court was told.

Passing sentence and referring to the evidence of a girl he abused three times in his car Judge Louise Kamill said: “She had managed until recently to suppress the shame she felt, but she had to relive it in the witness box because you denied the offences.

“Her suffering goes on, and she has since learnt you abused other children.

“She has had to undergo counselling sessions because of what she sees as her fault.

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“These are not the worst offences of their sort but the ages of the girls make them all very serious.”

Judge Kamill said she was restricted in the severity of her sentences because she had to apply the guidelines in force when the offences were committed, which are much less than they are currently.

Howard will appear on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

A jury convicted Howard, who lives in Norfolk, of three counts of indecency with a child and eight counts of indecent assault last month.

He was cleared of a single count of indecent assault.

The allegations came to light after one girl came forward in June 2010.