Somerset

'Dangerous and cunning' paedophile Mark Lester jailed for life

Mark Lester Image copyright Avon and Somerset police
Image caption Mark Lester was found guilty of 51 'truly horrific crimes' at Bristol Crown Court

A prolific child sex offender who committed "truly horrific crimes" has been jailed for life.

Mark Lester, 60, of Riverside Close, Bridgwater, was convicted at Bristol Crown Court of 51 offences including rape and sexual assault.

Judge Martin Picton said he should serve a minimum of 18 years.

He described Lester to the court as a "dangerous, cunning paedophile who posed a real risk to the public".

The 60-year-old was originally arrested after breaking into a house in Bridgwater in January 2015, threatening the two occupants at knife-point, tying them up and sexually assaulting one.

Speaking after the attack the victim said her child had "nightmares almost every night".

"We no longer like to leave each other on their own," she said.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Following the assault in Bridgwater police compiled a suspect list and Mark Lester was arrested after CCTV was used to track him on the day of the attack

Following his arrest Lester was investigated over a number of non-related historic sexual crimes against five victims.

He was convicted of five counts of rape on a child and a further 42 counts of gross indecency on a child, sexual assault on a child, incitement to cause a child to commit sexual activity and making/taking indecent images of children.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Lindsay Shearlock said: "Lester has refused to take any responsibility for these truly horrific crimes.

"Offenders of this type are prolific and will exploit any opportunity to abuse a child or a vulnerable person and it really is quite likely that there are further victims."

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