Devon

Military policeman jailed for sex attacks

Paul Howell Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Paul Howell was jailed for 12 years for raping one young girl and sexually assaulting another

A former military policeman has been jailed for abusing two young girls when he was on leave during the 1960s and 1970s.

Paul Howell admitted raping one victim and sexually assaulting the other in Devon.

Exeter Crown Court heard the attacks started when he was at a naval boarding school and carried on after he joined the military police.

Recorder Simon Levene jailed the 69-year-old for 12 years.

He said Howell had inflicted "severe psychological harm" on his victims.

Groomed

Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said both women told friends about their childhood ordeals and one told police in 2017.

Officers were then able to trace the other victim, who also agreed to give evidence.

Howell, of Apperley, near Tewkesbury, groomed both girls and gave one money or presents.

He previously denied the allegations and, the court heard, tried to commit suicide on the day before his trial was due to start last year.

He recovered and changed his plea a few days before a new trial was scheduled this month.

Strangling

In a victim impact statement, one of the women said: "I am an adult now, but it was a small, quite innocent child, who was abused and raped.

"She never had a voice as a child, so I am standing up for her now.

"She deserved better."

Howell was convicted of manslaughter in 1985 after strangling his wife to death while living in Bristol in the previous year.

Lee Bremridge, defending, said Howell was in poor health and "unlikely to survive his sentence". He added he was remorseful for what he had done.

Howell was also sentenced to one-year extended licence.

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