A PAEDOPHILE who was known as a trusted local ‘character’ has been convicted of historical sex abuse against four young children.

Arthur Shefford had denied nine counts of indecent assault, as well as one count of indecency with a child.

Prosecutors at his trial at Oxford Crown Court said the 77-year-old, of Abingdon Road, Oxford, indecently assaulted his four child victims on multiple occasions during the 1970s and 1980s.

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His victims - who were all aged between four and 11 at the time - gave evidence throughout the trial which began last week.

They detailed their ordeal at the hands of Shefford with some describing being sexually abused while riding a horse he owned named Sugar.

Shefford meanwhile took to the witness box to profess his innocence, claiming before jurors that the sexual abuse ‘never happened’.

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After five hours and 20 minutes of deliberations this afternoon, the jury panel found him guilty by a unanimous verdict of all 10 counts.

Once the verdicts had been handed down presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC agreed to adjourn the case so that a pre-sentence report can be prepared by the National Probation Service.

His final sentencing hearing will take place at the same court on August 1.

Shefford was released on bail.