A cruel paedophile who raped a girl when she was three and repeatedly beat another during a 20-year campaign of abuse has been jailed.
Clifford Rea repeatedly raped and molested the child from the age of three until she turned ten and sexually abused another child aged between four and 14 years old.
The 71-year-old escaped justice for decades but finally confessed his crimes when being treated for depression in 2014.
Former soldier, Rea, told doctors that babies and women were not safe when he was around.
He said: “I am scared what people think about me. I have overstepped the mark.
“Young ladies aren’t safe where I am – from babies to two-years-old, to grown-ups.
“This is because I sexually assault them.”
The abuse stretched back to 1961 and continued for some time until his victim told police she could still feel the pain now.
In July, Rea, a handyman and gardener of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, admitted five offences of rape and one of indecent assault on one victim and two of indecent assault of the second victim.
Maidstone Crown Court heard today (tue) he went on to reveal details of abuse and added: “I want to face up to what I have done.”
Prosecutor Deborah Charles said Rea told the girl it was “our secret” after raping her, adding that “She didn’t know what was going on at her tender age.
“She described beatings with objects – canes, slippers and his belt. They caused bruises.
“Given her age, she thought this behaviour was normal. It was only when she was older it dawned on her this was wholly inappropriate.
“She told police he showed her his pornography collection.”
He raped the girl on one occasion when he was home on leave from the army and also made her perform a sex act on him.
After Rea’s confessions at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, the other victim told of sexual assaults and violence at his hands.
Rea threatened her in order to stop her telling anybody, so she remained silent.
Crispian Cartwright defending said of the offences when the married father appeared for sentence: “It is like gazing at an open wound. It is distressing for everyone.”
Judge Philip St John-Stevens said during sentencing Rea’s crimes started in the early 60s and continued into the early 80s and one of his victims was under five when she was raped.
He said: “You told one victim it was your little secret to cover up what was happening.
“These sexual offences happened over a significant period of time.
“You made certain revelations to doctors and show remorse for what’s happened in the past.
“I sentence you to a term of imprisonment as there can be no other option because of the seriousness of the offences.
“Your victims have lived with these crimes for many years and they were deeply abhorrent, cold and calculated.
“You manipulated your victims to maintaining their silence, but they are now set free from this secret and have had the courage to support this prosecution.”
Rea was jailed for ten years for the rape and three years, four months for the indecent assaults, with both to run concurrently.
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) banned Rea from having contact with young women under the age of 16 indefinitely.