A "DESPICABLE, disgusting and deviant" child sex pervert from Chester has been jailed for 17 years.

David Bennion, 56, committed dozens of "truly horrendous" child sex crimes on two young girls who were as young as 11 at the time of the offending, Chester Crown Court heard on Wednesday, June 17.

Honorary Recorder of Chester Judge Steven Everett commended the two victims on their bravery as they came to court to read out personal statements telling how Bennion had ruined their childhoods and how they had suffered lasting psychological effects.

Bennion, who had been living in Chester prior to being a prisoner at HMP Liverpool in 2016, had pleaded guilty to 12 counts of child sex offences, including sexual assault and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison, plus two years on extended licence.

The terms of his sentence mean he will need to face a parole board after serving half his sentence to see if he poses a danger to the public, and if they rule he does, could mean he would serve the full 17 years behind bars.

Prosecuting, Mark Connor explained that for many of the counts, the offences happened on at least 10 occasions.

Bennion was already serving a 12-year sentence, imposed in 2016, for similar child sex crimes including sexual assault and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, involving a third young girl.

The first victim, reading from her personal statement, said the effects of the abuse had caused her anxiety and she had had to tell her story over and over again to police and her family.

She had it had been "a long, horrible road" and Bennion had "ruined her life" growing up.

The second victim said the process had been so hard and tiring like "a rollercoaster that is never going to end".

She said she had felt constantly on edge, had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, migraine and panic attacks, and in the last six months, insomnia.

She added: "People like David [Bennion] do not deserve a place on this earth."

Judge Everett said to them: "One feature that often comes across in these cases is the victims feeling guilt, blaming themselves.

"I say to you now, there is only one person at fault here, and that is the one in the dock.

"They are totally understandable emotions. You were just a child and he took advantage of that."

Defending, Simon Mills said Bennion had pleaded guilty and had written a letter to the court expressing remorse.

Sentencing, Judge Everett said: "These are totally despicable offences.

"Your victims have had the huge courage to come along today. I sincerely hope you were listening closely to them as they read out the terrible effects you had on them.

"You took away their childhood. You have taken away a substantial part of their early adulthood.

"You have had huge psychological effects on them because of your despicable, disgusting and deviant desires.

"What a terrible, terrible thing you have done.

"I can only hope they have got some sense of closure from today."