A man from Heacham convicted of sexually abusing two schoolgirls more than 30 years ago was jailed on Wednesday.
Sentencing Peter Lee to nine years’ imprisonment, Judge David Goodin told him: “You robbed them of the innocence of their childhood.”
Earlier this month at Ipswich Crown Court Peter Lee, 75, a former semi-professional footballer and publican, of Lords Lane, was found guilty of 18 separate offences. He had denied all the allegations.
Lee had been due to be sentenced then but was taken to hospital after passing out from high blood pressure.
He had been found guilty of 12 offences of indecent assault of a girl aged under 16 and six offences of gross indecency with a girl aged under 16.
During a six-day trial the jury heard allegations from two women who said they had been abused by Lee when they were young girls when he was landlord of the Woolpack public house at Haverhill.
The women said that Lee had repeatedly abused them, touching them over and inside their underwear and making them touch him indecently.
Prosecutor Charles Myatt described Lee as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character.
Mr Myatt said: “He had a public front as the life and soul of any situation, everyone got on with him, but behind the scenes he was a physical and sexual bully.”
One woman told the court: “Peter Lee physically and sexually abused me and I can’t let him be a pillar of society any longer.”
She claimed that on one occasion she was certain that Lee was trying to rape her but stopped when he heard someone else approaching.
Both women said that at the time they had been too frightened of Lee to disclose what had taken place although one did later receive counselling. After getting in touch with each other and discussing their experiences the women said they had decided to go to the police which resulted in his arrest in January.
Lee denied all the allegations against him and said he was unable to understand why the girls had made them. He said: “None of it is true.”
Mitigating, Isobel Ascherson said that although Lee had a number of previous convictions, including a six month term in prison for fraud, none had been of a sexual nature.
Lee was convicted of 12 offences of indecent assault on a girl aged under 16 and six offences of gross indecency with a girl aged under 16.
Judge Goodin told Lee that what he did was “monstrous” and he had used his dominant personality to prevent either of the girls revealing at the time what had taken place.
In addition to being jailed, Lee was ordered to sign on the sexual offences register indefinitely and is barred from being alone with girls under 16.