Anthony Lewis: Life for 'predatory' children's entertainer

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Anthony Lewis early 2000sImage source, Norfolk Police
Image caption,
Paedophile Anthony Lewis was investigated by police after a victim came forward in 2017

A children's entertainer who raped and sexually abused young girls over a 20-year period has been jailed for life.

"Predatory paedophile" Anthony Lewis, 58, admitted preying upon five victims between 1987 and 2007.

He used his role as an entertainer to target talent shows, music festivals and church and charity groups to gain access to children, police said.

A judge at Norwich Crown Court told Lewis he must serve at least 11 years and "may never be released" from jail.

He admitted 20 charges, including nine counts of rape committed in Norfolk, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Shaw, praised the bravery of the five victims who came forward.

Addressing the women, who were in the court's public gallery, he said their victim impact statements were among the "saddest and most upsetting" he had ever heard.

Each described struggling to form relationships as a consequence of Lewis's abuse, with all suffering mental health and trust issues.

All endured distressing childhoods involving alcohol, drugs and self-harm, while as adults have had to rely on anti-depressants.

Addressing Lewis, the judge said: "Only a life sentence will do to meet the continued risk you pose to young children."

'Couldn't trust men'

Det Con Verity Holmes of Norfolk Police said Lewis, of Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, was investigated after a victim came forward in 2017.

She described Lewis, who also goes by the names Chaz, Chas, Charlie and Tony, as a "predatory paedophile".

One of the women said she was first sexually assaulted aged five, while staying in a Northamptonshire hostel at the same time as Lewis and his family.

The abuse continued when they all moved out of the hostel and until she was 14 years old, only stopping after the victim's family moved home.

"I felt I could not be around men at all at the time. I could not even play with my own brother as a child. I couldn't trust him," she said.

Image source, Norfolk Police
Image caption,
Lewis, seen here in a custody photo, was arrested in 2017

Lewis, a grandfather with three children, pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape, 10 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault.

He previously served 17 weeks in jail in 2018 for four offences of making and possessing photos of indecent images of children.

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