Sussex

Brighton paedophile jailed for nine years

Stephen Marsh
Image caption Stephen Marsh gained the trust of parents before abusing their children

A refuse collector from Brighton has been sentenced to nine years in prison for grooming and sexually abusing girls over a 21-year period.

Stephen Marsh, 54, of Firle Road, targeted girls as young as 10, before going on to abuse them as teenagers.

He used his collection of tortoises and snakes to lure children into his home.

Marsh was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court of indecent assault, possession of indecent images of children and voyeurism.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing extreme pornography relating to sex acts with animals at an earlier hearing in June.

The court heard that Marsh covertly videoed his victims in their homes and used his second job as a doorman in city nightclubs to befriend girls and gain their trust.

'Image of trust'

Marsh also befriended his victims' families as a means to have unsupervised access to their children.

Det Sgt Linda Bond, from Brighton Child Protection Team, said: "For over 20 years Marsh abused an image of trust to commit his abhorrent crimes, luring children into his home through offering to let them see and be photographed with his snakes and tortoises.

"It is thanks to the immeasurable courage of the victims who came forward and bravely spoke about their ordeal that justice has now been done.

"I have no doubt in my mind Marsh would have continued to abuse young girls and it is thanks to them that he will no longer pose a threat to others."

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