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Convicted Norfolk child sex offender sentenced to further two and a half years after more victims come forward

PUBLISHED: 13:18 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 13 March 2017

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: Adrian Judd

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A man who has been jailed for a prison sentence for a “wicked” campaign of historical sexual abuse against girls has been sentenced after admitting further offences.

Dereham man Michael Etheridge. Dereham man Michael Etheridge.

Michael Etheridge, 75, is already serving a four year sentence after admitting 11 counts of indecent assault against four victims, one of whom was just five at the time, between 1959 and 1999.

But since being sentenced for those offences, in 2015, other victims have since come forward.

Etheridge, of Norwich Prison, but formerly of Howard Whitby Close, Dereham, has been sentenced to a further two and a half years imprisonment after he admitted five counts of indecent assaults against two women which relate to incidents in the Breckland area in the 1970s.

Speaking after sentencing, which took place last week, Detective Constable Stephanie Plowman, of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, who’s been overseeing the investigation, said: “This was an awful case that will impact on the victims and their families for the rest of their lives.

“The victims, having seen a previous conviction for Etheridge, felt confident in coming forward and that justice would be served.

“We would urge anyone who has been abused or sexually assaulted to come forward, safe in the knowledge that Norfolk Constabulary, together with our partners within child protection, will provide help and support, and do all we can to identify, charge and bring those responsible before the courts.”

As previously reported in 2015, when Etheridge was jailed for the attacks on the four girls between 1959 and 1999, he assaulted the first victim, who was just five at the time, after leading her into the woods to pick hazelnuts.

Norwich Crown Court heard all four victims, who were under 16 when the offending started, were still “under the shadow” of the abuse they suffered.

Judge Stephen Holt said it took courage to admit to the offences and also spared victims the “horror” of giving evidence.

But he said people did not understand the effect this sort of abuse had on victims.

Judge Holt said it “stays with them for the rest of their lives”.

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