A 74-YEAR-OLD has been jailed for 17 years for committing sexual assaults.

The Yeovil man appeared at Taunton Crown Court and following a two week trial, he was found guilty of nine counts of sexual assault involving four young boys.

The offences were not recent, and at the time, the boys were aged between 12 and 16.

The court heard how Barry Dunthorn, of Hendford Grove, groomed his victims by encouraging them to commit sexual acts with him in exchange for cash payment and gifts.

The most recent offences relate to the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old victim, who was paid large cash sums in exchange for sexual activity over a year.

The nine counts of sexual assault included:

  • Three counts of indecent assault on a male under 14 and three counts of indecent assault on a male under 16; contrary to the pre 2003 legislation Section 15 (1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956
  • Two counts of sexual activity with a child under 16, and one count of paying for the services of a child under 18

The offences took place in South and East Somerset between 1981 and 2018.

After sentencing, HHJ Townsend paid tribute to the victims for their courage in disclosing the offences, and for having to relive the abuse during the trial.

Investigating officer Andy Bath said: “I would like to praise the bravery of the victims who reported the offences to the police and instigated an investigation.

“After an initial report was made, a further three victims had the courage to come forward, all suffering similar traumatic events at the hands of the defendant.

“He created the opportunity to arrange meetings in secret and paid sums of cash to the victims to keep quiet about what was happening.

“He has shown absolutely no remorse for his actions and throughout the lengthy investigation and court trial he has denied his illegal activities.

“Nevertheless, the jury found him guilty of nine indictments.

“I very much hope that the victims will get some comfort in the knowledge that the man who had made them suffer abuse when they were children will now receive a custodial sentence for what he did.”