A MAN who sexually abused and neglected five young children over several years has been sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Kevin Long, now 65 and of Binsted Close, Eastbourne, was sentenced today following an eight-day trial, having been found guilty on 22 counts, including rape, sexual assault and child neglect.

The court heard that, between 15 and 20 years ago, Long took advantage of his access to the five children, three girls and two boys, all aged between six and 15 years at the time, at different addresses in Eastbourne.

He subjected the girls to a regular series of sexual offences and treated the boys with cruelty.

It was only when one of his victims came forward in 2018 that police were able to carry out a full investigation and uncover the dreadful reality of how she, and others, has been treated.

Detective Sergeant David Gibbs, of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said: "Long was a systematic offender against vulnerable young children, using his access to them for his own heartless gratification.

"We admire the readiness of these victims, each of whom experienced real emotional as well physical trauma, to give evidence. This, together with evidence we put together, with great assistance from PC Joanne Fox who worked closely to support the victims, Simon Milloy in our Witness Care team, and John Cousins from our Statement Taking team, was clearly a major factor in the outcome of the case.

"Although Long pleaded not guilty to all charges, such was the strength of the evidence that the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all 22 counts barely two hours after retiring."

"If you, or anyone you know, is subjected to abuse of this kind, do not suffer in silence. Please contact us at any time, on 101 or online and arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators."

For further information on reporting child abuse and the support that us available, see the Sussex Police website.

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