Man begins jail term for sex acts with girls

A man has been jailed after being convicted of indecent activity with two young girls which took place more than 30 years ago in Sudbury.

Kenneth Steele, 66, had denied the offences but was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court last month.

Steele, who was taken ill at the conclusion of the trial and was treated in hospital, was sentenced to seven years in jail on Tuesday.

Judge John Holt told Steele: “There is no doubt that this is very serious offending.”

Steele had been found guilty of indecency with a child and indecent assault on a girl aged six or seven, plus two offences of indecency with a seven-year-old girl. The offences were said to have taken place between 1976 and 1978.

The court heard that the offences took place at a house in Sudbury where Steele had been living at the time.

Prosecutor Matthew Gowen said Steele had indecently exposed himself to the girls and persuaded them to touch him indecently.

The offences took place while the girls were using a toilet while visiting the house, said Mr Gowen.

The jury heard that afterwards, Steele gave one girl a cherry-flavoured drink and the other girl some sweets.

Police were alerted to the offences by the girls last year.

Steele, of Dilbridge Road East, Colchester, claimed that he had never acted inappropriately and said he could not remember one of the girls while he was certain he had never been alone at his house with the other girl.

Sentencing him, Judge Holt said it appeared that Steele had difficulty in taking responsibility for what he had done.

In 1992, Steele appeared at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court after pleading guilty to two offences of gross indecency with a child.