A "dangerous" rapist who abused young schoolgirls over a period of decades has been jailed.

Geoffrey Watkin, 74, wept as he was sentenced to 16 years in prison after he was branded as having "an unhealthy interest in young girls".

Teesside Crown Court heard how the pensioner, of Marton Road, Middlesbrough, sexually abused his victims when they were of primary school age "in the most appalling way".

Victim statements described the serious emotional damage his depraved actions caused with one saying that she still suffers flashbacks.

The victim, now a woman, said: "I suffer from flashbacks which I still do have."

She said her relationships had been affected and "there's not a day goes by that I don't think of this".

The other victim said: "I have no confidence in myself, I feel everything I'm doing is wrong and I hate myself."

"I struggle with my sleep, sometimes I cannot sleep, sometimes I oversleep."

The crimes happened decades apart, with one of the victims abused more than 30 years ago and the other in more recent years.

Full details of the sex attacks are too graphic to publish.

However, the first girl told police Watkin had touched her private parts on several occasions and that this behaviour escalated, and that he performed a sex act on her.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds said: "She said that she tried to convince herself that she had imagined it."

The second victim was made to perform a sex act on Watkin, which on one occasion made her physically sick.

Watkin, who had to be handed tissues to wipe away tears during his sentencing hearing, made admissions to police when interviewed.

He pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault and two of rape.

Paul Newcombe, mitigating, asked the judge to draw back from finding his client to be a dangerous offender.

He said: "He's 74 years of age. The sort of sentence the court is looking at will mean that he will be of advanced years by the time he is released.

"He's fully admitted what he's done but has expressed a wish to work with the authorities."

Mr Newcombe said the sentence would be Watkin's first time behind bars and "it will be a grim time for him in his mid to late 70s".

Judge James Brown said: "The impact of your offending on your victims is clear from the candid and emotional statements which Mr Dodds has just read out.

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"It's clear to me that your behaviour had a profound impact on both of them in different ways."

In addition to his 16-year prison sentence, Watkin was handed an extended licence period of four years.

A sexual harm prevention order was made along with a restraining order banning him from contacting the victims.