A PENSIONER has been convicted of sexually abusing a child during the 1970s and faces a long prison sentence.

Philip Oliver claimed his victim was 'lying' about the abuse she suffered in Dines Green, in Worcester but the jury believed her, not him.

The diminutive 70-year-old was found guilty by a jury of sexual intercourse with a child under 13, four indecent assaults and four counts of indecency with a child between 1974 and 1980.

The stooped, bespectacled pensioner, flanked by two dock officers, showed no emotion as the unanimous guilty verdicts were delivered at Worcester Crown Court shortly after 4pm yesterday. Oliver was cleared of two indecent assaults between 1971 and 1973.

During the trial the victim said Oliver, a former Worcester milkman and porter, laughed at her when she first confronted him about the abuse and said: "Is that all you've got to say?"

She described his furry tongue and smelly breath, the stench of fags, his 'horrible' big brown fingernails and the sensation of being smothered.

The victim thought the condoms he used during the abuse were 'balloons'.

The most serious or 'lead offence' of which he now stands convicted is sexual intercourse with a child under 13.

If the offence were committed today it would be automatically categorised as a rape, the court was told.

The offence has a starting point in the sentencing guidelines of 13 years with an additional mandatory year on licence.

James Dunstan, for the prosecution, said the abuse involved severe psychological harm and the child was particularly vulnerable. He previously described the abuse as 'appalling' and 'ruinous'.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said there was also planning involved including arrangements made by Oliver for contraception.

Adam Western, for Oliver, said his client had been married for 27 years and had lived a 'quiet life'.

"My submissions are an invitation to your Honour to be merciful to this 70-year-old who now faces the prospect of prison for the first time.

"The man you are sentencing is very different from the man in the 1970s and early 1980s. In the 30 or 40 years since he has led a blameless life.

"There has been no suggestion since of any inappropriate conduct whatsoever."

Mr Western also said prison would bear much harder upon him than other inmates and said Oliver had been supported by his wife throughout the trial.

"I invite your Honour to consider the effect on her as she faces her senior years alone," said Mr Western.

Judge Cartwight said he would sentence Oliver today when the victim is set to read out her victim personal statement in court.

The judge told Oliver he had 'jettisoned' the victim once the abuse had finished and had spent his life away from those he damaged.

"Though you must have been looking over your shoulder all these years, the fact is you have enjoyed a life that hasn't had with it the emotional trauma you inflicted upon your victim and you have had decades of enjoyment out of life which she has been entirely denied by virtue of the damage you did.

"The fact so much time has passed is little mitigation because you have had the benefit of those years."

He told Oliver, of Wilson Road, Shurdington, near Cheltenham, he could have admitted what he did when he was confronted by the victim or when he was interviewed after she first reported it to police in 1993. Oliver would not then be in the dock at the age of 70.

The judge remanded him in custody overnight. As a convicted sex offender notification and registration provisions now apply.