Centenarian British paedophile gets 13yrs'

An undated handout photo shows Ralph Clarke posing for a custody photograph. (West Midlands Police via AFP)
An undated handout photo shows Ralph Clarke posing for a custody photograph. (West Midlands Police via AFP)

London - A 101-year-old British man was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of a string of historic sex crimes against children.

Former lorry driver Ralph Clarke was found guilty last week of 21 offences related to the abuse of two girls and one boy between 1974 and 1983.

"You present as a fragile old man. However, what was plain to see was that, despite your guilty pleas, you have no remorse whatsoever," Judge Richard Bond said as he gave his ruling in Birmingham, central England.

Clarke is believed to be Britain's oldest prison inmate and his defence lawyer Darron Whitehead said the term would in effect be a "life sentence", asking the judge to consider Clarke's age and health.

Prosecutor Claire Nicholls said Clarke had used "fear and intimidation" to control his victims.

"He took full advantage of their young age and the situation in order to carry out his crimes.

"For over 40 years Clarke thought that he had got away with his crimes. Due to the courage of the victims we were able to bring him to justice," she said in a statement.

Clarke abused the children at his home, his garden shed and in his lorry, the court heard.

He admitted nine charges related to a boy during the trial and described the offences as "something that happened" in his past.

The jury took two days to reach its verdict.

Britain has no statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse.

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