A 69-year old man who sexually abused two girls in the 1970s when he lived at Headley Court near Leatherhead has been jailed for nine years.

George Wanless was found guilty of systematically abusing the two girls between 1974 and 1976 following an investigation by Surrey Police’s Complex Abuse Unit.

Mr Wanless, from Oldham, was found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault relating to the two victims. He was also found not guilty of rape, buggery and the jury failed to reach a verdict on a separate buggery charge.

One of the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “It has not been an easy decision to bring this matter to the attention of the police and the criminal justice system.

“I have agonised over whether it was fair to raise this after so many years and I have asked myself whether it is simply a case of changing sexual morals and boundaries over time.

“However the reality is that the law today regards sexual acts with children as abhorrent and wrong and so it did in the 1970s.

“Mr Wanless broke the law when he assaulted me, as he would do if he did the same today. Sexual acts with children are wrong because they cause intolerable harm to the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Tom Gilbert said: “George Wanless was quite simply a sexual predator who took advantage of his victims due to their vulnerable age at the time of the offending.

“The investigation started back in 2014, more than 40 years after the offences took place, which is an incredibly brave step for a victim to take after such a long time.

“I hope that the conviction will give any other victims of non-recent offences the confidence to come forward in the knowledge that we have a specialist team of officers here to support you.”

If you are the victim of an offence, or you suspect anyone of committing offences like the ones mentioned here, call police on 101 or on 999 in an emergency.

Support and advice is also available from the NSPCC via www.nspcc.org.uk or their helpline on 0808 800 5000.

You can also contact the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre www.rasasc.org or the National Association for People Abused in Childhood www.napac.org.uk