THE young victims of a 65-year-old man who sexually abused them while babysitting have been praised for their bravery in coming forward.

Lloyd Dorward, of Wasbrough Avenue, Wantage, was sentenced on Tuesday at Oxford Crown Court to nine and a half years in prison, with an extended one year licence.

He had pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a girl under 13, three counts of assault by penetration of a girl under 13, and one count of causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Sophie Holliss, of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit based at Cowley police station, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the victims in this case as they have shown real bravery coming forward to report this.

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“I am pleased that Dorward changed his plea to guilty, meaning that the two young girls did not have to suffer the ordeal of a criminal trial."

She added: "I hope the sentence provides the victims and their families with the closure they need to try and heal from what they have been put through and move forward with their lives.

"I would encourage any victims of sexual offences to come forward and reassure them that they will be listened to and supported.”