A 72-year-old paedophile has been jailed for repeatedly abusing two children in a period lasting more than three years.
John Arthur Fairburn started abusing one girl when she was seven.
As she grew older, he started abusing a younger girl, York Crown Court heard.
The second girl also was seven when he started sexually assaulting her.
Mark McKone, prosecuting, said one of the girls already had substantial difficulties before the abuse because of matters that had happened when she was much smaller.
Reading a statement from the girl’s parents, he said she had made “extraordinary” efforts to overcome her difficulties, but they had been “ruined” by Fairburn’s actions.
The parents of the second child described the day she revealed what had happened to her as “the worst day of their lives”.
The abuse had had a severe adverse effect on her life.
Recorder Benjamin Nolan QC told Fairburn: “The facts of the offences speak for themselves.
“You caused them both emotional and psychological harm.
“Not only are there offences against two victims, but there are repeated offences.”
Fairburn, of Deighton, south of York, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of sexually assaulting a child and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was jailed for five and a half years, put on the sex offenders’ register for life and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 12 and a half years.
“He will be released in his late seventies,” the judge said. “One hopes his urges will have subsided by then.”
For Fairburn, Colin Byrne said he could not explain his actions.
“He fully accepts the very grave nature of what he had done,” he said.
“He is exceptionally sorry for what he has done.”
Fairburn had worked hard all his life and to some degree lived an isolated life.
He was awaiting surgery, so would start his sentence “in some pain”.