A Southampton foster carer who sexually abused young girls for almost 30 years has been jailed for 21 years.

Rex Case, 68, was yesterday found guilty of 18 counts of sex abuse, sexual assault and rape of girls supposedly in his care.

He even raped one girl when she was just five years old.

Today at Southampton Crown Court, Judge Peter Henry sentenced case to 21 years for his crimes.

Case was told his actions were abhorrent by Judge Henry who said he had abused his position of trust by carrying out a campaign of abuse against five young girls over 25 years.

Now the girls he abused and their families are demanding answers as to why Case was allowed to continue to foster and why social services chiefs in Hampshire and Southampton or police failed to step in to stop him.

Judge Henry said he had developed his own opinion of the 68-year-old during the course of the trial at Southampton Crown Court and felt he was “devious, manipulative, cunning, defensive, aggressive and obsessive.”

He went on to tell Case, who sat emotionless in the box, that he had followed “a past of systematic abuse.”

He described Case's treatment of a young girl who he raped when she was just four as “cunning and depraved.”

He added that the girl, who is now aged 19 but was fostered by him at the age of three, could not have had a worse start in life.

Judge Henry went on to describe how the “most surprising thing” was that the sexual abuse she suffered “for reasons that still escape me” never led to the prosecution of Case in the late 1990s.

He added: “Social services did not prevent you from being involved with young children thereafter. You must have been manipulative and persuasive and have persuaded them you were not an abuser.”

Case was told that he would continue to pose a danger to female children and the public could only be protected from him by a custodial sentence.

Case was told he would be on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life and could not be considered for release until at the very earliest half way through his sentence.

All of Case's victims were in court to see him be sentenced as were members of his family including his wife Carol, who is in a wheelchair.

Hampshire Constabulary have admitted they missed 'several chances' to prosecute Case, over the years.