A BLIND pensioner has been jailed for 20 years for abusing two young girls.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court praised the courage of the two victims who spoke out against Alan Davies despite him being a wealthy retired businessman, churchgoer and a ‘pillar of the community’.

Davies was living in Surrey in the 1990s when he committed the offences against the first victim but had retired to South Devon by the time he abused the second girl, who was aged just six at the time.

He is now aged 75 and lost his sight after moving to Devon. He used a white stick as he entered and left court.

He dismissed the allegations as ‘a load of balderdash’ and ‘old tosh’ when interviewed by police but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court despite telling them ‘I am not a blood monster’.

Davies, of Maidencombe, near Stokeinteignhead, denied but was found guilty of five counts of rape and six of indecency against the first victim and two sexual assaults and one offence of inciting sexual activity with a child in relation to the second.

He was jailed for 19 years with a one-year extended licence by Judge David Evans who told him he had used subtle threats and emotional manipulation to try to ensure the victims’ silence.

He said the first victim had suffered awful psychological damage as a result of the abuse and both had been put through the ordeal of giving evidence and being cross-examined. He noted that Davies still denies his offences and has shown no remorse.

The judge said he was reducing the sentence to acknowledge the difficulties Davies will suffer though the isolation of his blindness and ill health while serving his sentence.

He said: ‘From all the evidence, it is clear to me that it has taken a considerable degree of courage and persistence and fortitude for the victims to make and maintain these allegations.’

Miss Sarah Jones, KC, prosecuting, said the abuse took place against two different girls at very different times and locations but came to light after a six-year-old child told her mother about being touched by Davies.

She said the girl told her mother, who contacted the NSPCC, and the police became involved, leading to the earlier offences being uncovered. They had not been reported at the time.

Davies told the jury he and his wife set up and ran a very successful recruitment business when they were living in Surbiton but sold it in 1996 and moved to Devon.

He said his sight was already deteriorating at the time and he subsequently became blind.

He denied any sexual contact with either girl and said the allegations were ‘cloud cuckoo land’.

He said: ‘I did not touch them sexually. I find it all quite abhorrent to think that anyone could do that. When I heard about the allegations, it was if someone had let of a bomb in my head.’

Mr Rupert Taylor, defending, said Davies is in poor health and fears he will not survive a long sentence. He said he had lived a productive and successful life and added: ‘He could be described as a pillar of the local community and church.’