A SEX abuser who threatened his young victims to keep them silent has been jailed for three years.
Nicholas Hobbs carried out the sickening attacks between 1978 and 1994, leaving his victims suffering from nightmares into later life.
The youngest of his four victims was just four-years-old when he began to touch her sexually and the others were 5 or 6.
Now 49, he was aged 16 or 17 when he committed some of the offences, but did not continuously abuse his victims over the 16-year period.
"You threatened them to secure their silence," said Recorder Paul Dunkels, QC, at Truro Crown Court on Friday, September 7.
"No sentence I can pass can give back these women, as they are now, the innocence of youth which you took away."
Wearing a khaki-coloured shirt, Hobbs, last known to be living in a caravan at West Prince Farm in Seven Stones, Callington, sat with his hand over his face while some of the attacks were described.
The court heard that the abuse against one girl stopped when she was aged 8 or 9, when she read information in the issue in magazines and came to realise that it was wrong.
On occasions, Hobbs used his physical strength to calm the girls down and if they pushed him away he would make them feel guilty, jurors heard, as if they had done something wrong.
His victims reported the abuse in later life, nearly 20 years after it stopped.
He pleaded guilty to the 17 accounts of indecent assault he was charged with at the first available opportunity, and was given the maximum credit for this, the court was told.
His defence argued it was rare for someone in Hobbs's position to confess to police and that giving him credit for this would encourage others to do the same.
It was also acknowledged that Hobbs had sought counselling, after which the reign of abuse stopped, and that he is approaching 50 and facing prison for the first time.
He was sentenced to three years and four months in prison. He was also prohibited from living in the same household of any child under 18 unless he is given the express consent of the social services in the area.
He must have no contact with a child under 18, except when it is not easily avoidable in the course of daily life or with the consent of a parent or guardian who has knowledge of his conviction.
Mr Dunkels added: "I've no doubt their difficulties are a result in large of what you put them through in childhood."