A CHUDLEIGH man, who is ‘a danger to children’, has been sentenced to 36 years for sexually abusing three children.

Aaron Bennett, 33, of New Exeter Street in Chudleigh, was sentenced today, Tuesday 21 November, to 28 years in prison with an extension of eight years due to the danger he poses.

Following a trial in October, a jury found Bennett guilty of 11 serious sexual offences which included the rape of a child under 13; attempted rape of a child under 13; and assaulting a child under 13 by penetration.

Exeter Crown Court heard how Bennett used threats and violence and had threatened to harm loved ones if the victims revealed what he had done.

In closing, Judge Stephen Climie commended the bravery of all three victims and said: 'Observing the evidence of the three victims in this case was a matter which caused significant upset among jurors who had to try this case.

'It was compelling and obviously credible evidence given by three young people despicably and seriously abused. One can only hope in some shape this sentencing can draw some sort of line to allow them to move forward in their lives.'

Bennett was also made subject to an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register. 

Detective Constable Donna Tullock from the Local Safeguarding Investigation Team said: 'I firstly must commend the incredible bravery of the victims who had the courage to come forward and support this investigation. Without their strength in character, we wouldn’t have been able to build such a strong case.

'Bennett is now where he belongs - behind bars - where he will face the consequences of these abhorrent crimes. He is a dangerous predator and a threat to children.

'Nothing will ever take away the trauma that these individuals have been through, but I hope that there can be some reassurance in knowing that this man will be locked up for a considerable amount of time.

'We truly hope that this outcome gives other victims the strength to come forward and report incidents of rape and sexual assault to us. We have support mechanisms in place to help support victims throughout the process.'

Support available

If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

You can also report information and crimes on the police's website.

Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

There are lots of organisations and support agencies available across Devon and Cornwall that can help provide support. For more information on rape and serious sexual assault and the support services available, please visit our support pages by clicking here.