A MAN who put two young children through 'truly horrifying' sexual abuse has been jailed thanks to the bravery and courage of his victims.

Jeffery Hawksworth was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a jury unanimously found him guilty of 17 counts of indecently assaulting a child.

The 68-year-old was convicted following a seven-day trial at Chester Crown Court, which concluded last week. 

Hawksworth, of Lansing Gardens in Derby, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

All of the abuse occurred in the east Cheshire area in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when his victims were both between the ages of six and 11.

Following the sentencing, Det Con Vicky Taylor, from Cheshire Police's public protection investigations unit, said: “Firstly I would like to recognise the bravery and determination that both of the victims have shown throughout this investigation.

“What Hawksworth put them through is truly horrifying, he systematically abused both children over a number of years in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.

“Not only that, but he also made his victims endure a trial and recount what he had done to them, which was extremely distressing. But thanks to their courage, he is now facing the consequences of his actions.

“The sentence handed to Hawksworth reflects the severity of his crime and I hope that his conviction will encourage other victims to come forward. 

“As this case demonstrates, we treat all reports of historic sexual offences seriously and we will always do our best to ensure offenders are brought to justice.”

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “It is vitally important that victims of sexual abuse come forward and talk about what happened to them so justice can be served on perpetrators of sexual abuse.

“Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse – no matter how long ago the incident took place – is urged to come forward and report it. 

"I will continue to work with victims to ensure they are listened to and are provided with the relevant specialist support that they need.”