A former builder from Landkey has been jailed for a further three years after being convicted of molesting a young girl.

Peter Ralph, 69, is already serving a six year sentence for sexual assaults on three children over a period of 20 years.

He has now had his sentence extended after being found guilty of touching a fourth victim - Ralph abused the girl when she was aged six or seven but she did not appreciate the seriousness of what he had done until she was several years older.

He denied but was convicted of inciting sexual activity with a child and sexual assault and was jailed for three by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

He ordered him to sign on the sex offenders register for life and imposed a sexual harm prevention order which restricts his access to children after his release.

The court heard the girl became upset after learning about child sexual abuse at school and told her mother what Ralph had done to her.

Ralph will start to serve the new sentence after he completes a six year term which was imposed at Exeter Crown Court last year for abusing two girls and one boy in the 1990s and 2000s.

Heather Hope, prosecuting, said Ralph abused the most recent victim while visiting her home around 2012 when she was six or seven.

A victim impact statement said she had become upset during sex education classes in school and is now less trusting with men. She is also receiving counselling for flashbacks and insomnia.

William Parkhill, defending, said Ralph is in poor health and has been treated for bladder or prostate cancer four times in the past. He is currently undergoing tests to assess whether the disease has returned.

The judge told him: “You have plainly harboured thoughts and feelings towards the sexual abuse of children over about three decades.

“You lack any insight into the realities of your behaviour and persist in the proposition that all your victims are lying about you and suggesting there is a conspiracy against you.

“Your approach has simply compounded the misery and distress that this victim has had to go through. You abused her when you were well aware of the abuse you had inflicted on other children in the past.

“The damage you inflicted on her will stay with her in one way or another for the rest of her life even though she was not fully aware of what was going on at the time.”

After the case Detective Constable Samantha Napier, of the Barnstaple Public Protection Unit, welcomed the verdict and sentence

She said: “Ralph abused children over a period of 30 years. The impact of his abuse has been catastrophic for the victims and their families. I hope these verdicts can help them to rebuild their lives.

“I would like to praise their courage and dignity. I hope this case shows other victims of abuse that time is no barrier to justice.”