A HAMPSHIRE pensioner has started a three-year jail sentence after being convicted of indecent assault.

William Pyburn, 74, had been convicted by jurors at Southampton Crown Court on eleven specimen charges of indecent assault, having sexual activity with a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Leigh QC said he took into account Pyburn's age, his previous good character and his ill health, but he had told his victim what had happened was "therapy" after he had undergone a prostrate operation.

He had prevented her from telling anyone by saying her family would hate her, he would die, and when she got older, he would say her boy friend had had sex with her and he would go to prison.

In mitigation, Peter Henry spoke of Pyburn's ill-health and said the impact of a prison sentence would be significantly harder for him than on a younger and fitter man.

Pyburn had denied the allegations.