A pensioner from Cornwall has been jailed for ruining the lives of three young girls who he abused more than 30 years ago.

Derek Scott left all the victims facing a lifetime of psychological problems after touching them sexually at a time when he was visiting their homes and they were aged ten to 14.

All of them struggle to trust other people, one of them washes themselves obsessively and another still sleeps with the light on. All wrote impact statements saying that Scott had stolen their innocence and their childhoods.

The 83-year-old widower is now suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, respiratory illness, and poor mobility and Exeter Crown Court was told he his likely to die in prison.

Scott, of Bangor’s Green, Poundstock, near Bude, admitted four counts of indecent assault and was jailed for four years and eight months by Judge James Adkins at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “The personal statements speak of significant impact which the victims have suffered as a result of their exposure to your sexual depravity.”

Mr David Jackson, prosecuting, said the abuse occurred against three different girls in the late 1980s and early 1990s and consisted of touching their genitals or breasts. Scott was drunk when he committed at least two of the sexual assaults.

He bribed them with presents and made implied threats to ensure their silence and their torment remained hidden for three decades until one went to the police in 2022.

Extracts of the impact statements showed that all the girls suffered serious psychological damage. One said she never felt safe when Scott was visiting her home, another said they still have flashbacks when they hear whistling or smell certain smells.

One said Scott had taken away her enjoyment of sex for the remainder of her life and all detailed how his actions had disrupted their childhoods and early adult life.

Mr Rupert Taylor, defending, said Scott had reached the age of 83 with no convictions or cautions and had lived an otherwise law abiding and positive life.

He said has lived a very isolated existence since the death of his wife, his only friend being a neighbour who is even older than him and he helps to look after, despite his own frailty.

Mr Taylor said Scott is now in very poor health and added: “This is a man who faces the prospect of dying in prison.”