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Pensioner jailed for three child sex assaults in the New Forest

Michael Wort was jailed for five years
Michael Wort was jailed for five years

A MAN who committed sexual offences against children in the New Forest over the course of nearly 50 years has been jailed for five years.

Michael Wort (69), of no fixed abode, was found guilty of three charges, including one count of sexual assault of a girl under 13 by touching, and two counts of indecent assault of a girl under 16. Each of these relates to a separate child.

One offence was committed against a child in 1971, with three others targeting a child between 1985 and 1986 and two against a further child between 2018 and 2019. All took place at addresses in the district.

Sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on Monday, Wort was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life. He was also handed an indefinite restraining order, banning him from contacting his victims.

Welcoming the outcome, Det. Sgt Oliver Battersby from Hampshire’s criminal investigation department commended the “incredible bravery and courage” of the female victims who came forward.

“These are extremely difficult times for these women and it would not have been easy, both emotionally and physically, to have to relive their ordeals from when they were younger,” Det. Sgt Battersby said.

“We know how hard it is to come forward and report these offences, whether they have taken place recently or in the past.

“We are committed to getting justice for victims and have specially trained officers to support them through the process.”

He added: “We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse to contact police on 101 where you can speak with our specialist detectives in confidence.”

Two of the victims thanked officers involved, along with the force’s witness care team, for the support they were given during the investigation and trial.

“They made the whole experience of coming forward so comforting, and while it was hard, we now have closure,” the pair said.

“We would recommend anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward.”

Sex abuse survivors are entitled to support whether they report the crime or not. For more details visit https://bit.ly/38Kt6hf

The Ministry of Justice this year launched a new campaign called #ItStillMatters, raising awareness of the support available for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. It aims to help them take the vital first step in accessing support.

For more information on how to access support locally, visit www.safeline.org.uk/it-still-matters

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