A SOUTH Shropshire pensioner involved in a series of sex offences against two under-age girls has been jailed for 10 years.

Derek Byfield, 71, had threatened one of his victims that he would hurt her if she got pregnant.

Passing sentence at Shrewsbury Crown Court last week, Judge Jim Tindal said that in view of Byfield's medical condition there was a significant risk he could die in prison,

"You took away the childhood of two vulnerable young girls. The responsibility for it is entirely yours," he said.

At an earlier hearing Byfield, of Far Forest, near Cleobury Mortimer, had admitted a charge of rape against one of the girls in the 1970s.

He also admitted five offences of sexual activity with another child in more recent years.

Byfield was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and he will be on the sex offenders' register for life.

The court was told that Byfield raped one of the girls when she was 13 and gave her sweets afterwards and threatened her that if she got pregnant he would beat her up and make it look like someone had attacked her.

The other victim was also aged under 16 and he had sex with her on more than one occasion.

In one instance Byfield did not use a condom and took the young girl to a pharmacy to get the morning-after pill.

Abigail Nixon, for Byfield, described her client as "a supportive and devoted husband" and said he suffered with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.