A BASINGSTOKE paedophile will serve up to 19 years in prison for committing sexual offences, including rape, against four young girls over many years.

Paul Thomas, of Western Way, South Ham, was called a “predatory and persistent sex offender” by judge Andrew Barnett at Winchester Crown Court today.

The extended determinate sentence comes after a jury found the 50-year-old guilty of 25 of the 31 charges he faced during a two-month trial that ended in January.

The trial heard the crimes spanned some 15 years, from the mid-1990s to 2010, when the first victim came forward to Hampshire Constabulary. The victims were abused separately at different times and locations.

Jerry Lee Howe, 40, of Dunnyshop Avenue, Accrington, Lancashire, was jailed for 11 years after he was found guilty of three offences, including rape, against one girl.

For more on this story, see The Gazette on Thursday.