A Hove pensioner has been jailed more than 20 years after he was reported to the police for sex attacks on young girls.
Alyn Matless, who ran an electrical repair shop next to Hove Station since the 1980s, has finally been convicted of 21 offences over 37 years.
Matless, who opened M&B Domestic Appliances, in Goldstone Villas, in 1983, was a well-known face in the community – but while befriending his victims’ parents he was secretly abusing the youngsters.
The family of one of his victims said they had been through 20 years of hell as he paraded as an upstanding member of the community.
It was only when two further victims reported him to Eastbourne police two decades later that he was charged.
They had watched for years as he appeared to be a friendly businessman who attracted celebrity clients to his shop. They suffered even longer when he was finally put on trial last year but a jury couldn’t reach a verdict and he was freed again.
Yesterday Matless, 71, of Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, was finally jailed for five and a half years for attacks committed on four girls aged between three and 12 years old between 1962 and 1989.
The mother said: “At the time we first reported him the police just said they didn’t have enough evidence. It was his word against ours.
“She was only young so it was awful to watch him get away with it. It was only when three others came forward in Eastbourne that the police there found out he had been accused before.
“We were so angry when we saw him in the street and in the paper.
“There’s a nursery school just opposite his shop. If my children went there I would want to know what sort of man he was.”
Retired detective constable Martyn Milligan, who investigated the case, said: “This was a very distressing series of offences, and the victims suffered greatly over many years.
“Their willingness to come forward and support the prosecution, in which they each had to give evidence twice as there was a re-trial, contributed in large part to bringing Matless to justice.
“This is another case that shows that offenders of this type can be successfully prosecuted, even after many years.
“We encourage anyone who suffers physical or sexual abuse to come forward, no matter how long after the events.
“You will be able to speak in confidence to experienced detectives who can also arrange access to a |range of counselling and other supportive facilities.”