A SCHOOL bus driver is today behind bars after he was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl in the 1970s.

Gurnham Singh Sekhon was given a four-year jail sentence after a jury found him guilty of raping a teenage girl and indecently assaulting another.

Southampton Crown Court heard that the victim was left in tears when Sekhon, 59, from Treloyhan Close, Chandlers Ford, committed the acts in Lodge Road when he was 23.

Judge Peter Henry said: "She said, 'I can remember crying but not any words. I didn't understand what was happening, I was not stupid, I knew something was happening."

He added: "Afterwards the jury convicted you on the basis that she didn't consent and that you knew she didn't consent and was reckless about it."

Sekhon was also found guilty of indecently assaulting another girl, who was 17 at the time, when he forced her on to the floor and pulled up her bra.

He then touched her inappropriately.

Judge Henry added: "You then opened her mouth and spat into it."

Sekhon committed the crimes when he first came to this country from India in the late 1970s.

Judge Henry added: "You were only 21 when you came to this country in an arranged marriage, you were from a farming background in India. I accept that when you were a young man settling in this country you were not socially or sexually sophisticated."

The historic allegations were deliberated at a trial at Southampton Crown Court where Sekhon pleaded not guilty to three charges of rape and three charges of indecent assault.

Now a father of two, Sekhon worked at Asda stacking shelves and was "well-regarded" at the Sikh temple which he visited regularly before the trial began.

Defence barrister Elisabeth Bussey-Jones said: "He has been exposed to young people all his life. He's a school bus driver. There's never been any other incidence of inappropriate behaviour."

A jury found him innocent of four of the six charges and guilty of the others by majority.

He was sentenced to four years for the rape, and 12 months for the indecent assault, both sentences to run at the same time.

He will also be subject to notification requirements.