A JERSEY man has been sentenced to seven years in prison and placed indefinitely on the sex offenders register after being convicted of non-recent sexual abuse offences against two young girls in Farnham and Aldershot.

Geoffrey Welland, 78, of St Martin, Jersey, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday, October 21, after he was found guilty of eight non-recent sexual offences, including seven counts of indecent assault on a female under 14 years and one count of gross indecency with a female under 14 years.

The offences related to two girls, aged five and nine years old at the time, and took place between 1967 and 1975 at an address in Farnham and addresses in Aldershot.

One of the victims came forward to Surrey Police in April 2012 to report the historic sexual abuse she had endured.

After deciding not to pursue these allegations, she changed her mind and came forward again in 2017, at which time she said that she believed that there was a second victim involved.

Following further investigation, it transpired that Welland had subjected both girls to systematic sexual abuse over a sustained period.

Louise Andrews from Surrey Police’s Sexual Offences Investigation Team, which investigated the case, said: “Welland preyed on these two young girls and subjected them to a sustained period of sexual abuse over several years.

"One of them finally found the courage to come forward and report what had happened and for this she must be commended.

"As soon as we were made aware of the allegations, we carried out a thorough investigation and ensured that both victims were provided with support from specially trained officers.

“I hope that the sentence given to Welland will help both victims finally begin to come to terms with what has happened to them all those years ago which has left a lasting and devastating impact on both of their lives since, and that it will help them to be able to start to move on.

“The judge also commented that the offences Welland had committed were ’truly life-changing’ and a ’very significant breach of trust which had caused severe psychological harm’.

“This sentence sends a clear message that Surrey Police will always investigate any report of sexual abuse, no matter how long it ago it occurred.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said:“Welland subjected two young children to years of pain and horror. This abuse has now come to light thanks to their bravery in coming forward, and we hope they are getting the support they need to move on with their lives.

“Adults who wish to report abuse no matter how long ago, or have concerns about a child, can phone the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected], while children can contact Childline any time on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk.”

For more advice on reporting sexual abuse, visit the website https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/