A SHOP manager has been jailed for a series of sexual offences, including sex attacks on a young girl.

Benjamin Tomsett, 43, was found guilty after a trial of four counts of sexual assaults on a seven-year-old girl he knew.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of 243 indecent images of unidentified young girls.

Tomsett will be a registered sex offender for life and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court order, severely restricting his access to computers and children.

The assaults were committed between December 2016 and May 2017.

Tomsett, previously of Poplar Way, Midhurst, knew the victim's family, who lived in the town.

The 43-year-old was sentenced to a nine-year prison sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday.

Detective Constable Amanda Zinyama of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said: "For six months this little girl had been subjected to systematic assaults by Tomsett, who had the confidence of her family and used that as cover to commit the offences against her in her own home, sometimes even when family members were present.

"Finally the girl summoned up the courage to tell her family. As soon as we were told, enquiries were made and Tomsett was swiftly arrested.

"When he was arrested his mobile phone was seized and the indecent images of children were found. None were of his victim or of any other identifiable children.

"He admitted to downloading and viewing the images when he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol but he denied the sexual assaults up to and throughout the trial. His victim therefore had to have her fully detailed and video-recorded evidence played in court and was cross-examined as part of his defence."

When the assaults began Tomsett was living in Cherry Orchard, Hadlow, Kent, but moved to Midhurst in February 2017 and the assaults continued.

After being arrested he moved back to Kent and lived in Boxley Road, Maidstone, but was remanded in custody after being convicted.