Paedophile's jail term `to protect the unborn'

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A judge jailed a sex molester for 27 years after telling him he wanted to protect Britain's children, including those not yet born. The sentence is one of the longest imposed for offences which do not carry a life term.

A charity worker, Raymond Hodgson, 43, carried out a catalogue of sex abuse on nine young girls. Police caught him after he had abused four children but he escaped by locking officers in his house.

He went on to sexually abuse another five children, after winning the trust of their parents as he travelled around Britain. He was caught when his photograph was shown on the BBC television programme Crimewatch and the station was inundated with calls.

Winchester Crown Court was shown a pornographic video Hodgson made in which he forced a six-year-old girl to perform sexual acts. Judge Martin Tucker QC told him: "Having seen in the video of the sort of things you were doing, it must be realised what a revolting series of offences these were.

"When you are eventually at liberty the overwhelming probability is you will try to do it again. I have got to protect children and unborn children.

"I am passing a sentence that will keep you inside until your sexual life is on the wane."

The court heard Hodgson re-offended when he was released from prison after a conviction for raping a 12-year-old girl.

The girls he targeted on his release were aged 6 to 13.

The court heard Hodgson began working for a charity and befriended one of his employees who had young children. Once he won the family's trust he began abusing the girl. After befriending this girl he met other youngsters by "wheedling himself into the affections and trust of their parents".

One girl told police Hodgson pulled her into his bed, stripped and removed her pants.

While visiting friends in Gosport, Hampshire, Hodgson abused an eight- year-old girl after giving her shandy. The girl woke in the middle of the night to find Hodgson touching her. She began crying and later told her sister. Police were alerted.

But when police went to arrest Hodgson he conned them into letting him say goodbye to his landlady, locking them in the house while he escaped. He then moved north to Morecombe under an assumed name where he again used his work with a charity to abuse another set of children.

Hodgson said he did not know why he had abused the children. "Ninety per cent of the time I am like any other in the street and then situations crop up and I lose control," he said.

Hodgson, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, admitted six counts of indecent assault, four of indecency with a child and five counts of taking indecent photographs, and one of unlawful escape.