A shamed masseur was branded a "monster" by one of his victims as he was locked up for sexually assaulting four women in a disgraceful betrayal of trust.

Steven Goss, who served in the Royal Navy, appeared trustworthy and professional but had a hidden dark side.

The married 52-year-old repeatedly sexually assaulted women while giving them massages, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

He continues to deny any wrongdoing, saying any touching between their legs, over underwear, was accidental.

But now he has been jailed for 21 months after jurors found him guilty of four counts of sexual assault.

As he was locked up, impact statements from his victims were read out by prosecutor Vince Ward.

Referring to one woman, Mr Ward said: "The defendant has betrayed her trust, leaving her feeling sickened, in shock and violated.

"There's an anxious part of her that swallows her whole on most days and not a single day goes by when she doesn't think about it.

"She describes him as a monster.

"He made her out to be a liar in court, putting his hand on the bible and swearing to tell the truth but blatantly lying instead. He put her through a horrendous ordeal of taking the stand in court."

Mr Ward said the victim has suffered anxiety, sleeplessness, and "crippling" depression and has had treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He added: "She describes him as a painful, undeniable part of her story, leaving a permanent scar."

Another woman said she had suffered low self-esteem and confidence as a result of his offending against her.

She added: "I felt violated and disgusted.

"I now understand the term skin-crawling. I felt groomed."

Another victim said she found Goss, who was larger than her, "quite intimidating".

Judge Robert Adams jailed him for 21 months and imposed a 10 year sexual harm prevention order, which forbids him from doing massage or similar therapies involving physical contact with women. He must also sign the sex offenders register for ten years.

The judge told him: "It was a betrayal of the trust these complainants placed in you."

The court heard Goss, of Mount Pleasant, Stanley, County Durham, ran a sports massage business called Relaxing Times, based in Burnopfield, and he advertised for business in places including Facebook.

When victim one contacted him, he quoted her £20, which she thought seemed low.

When she turned up, he was the only member of staff present and he locked the door after she came in.

The woman said there were no problems with the massage at first as Goss worked on her back, shoulders and lower legs.

Mr Ward, opening the case to jurors earlier this year, said he then asked her to remove her shorts, which she thought was unnecessary, then sexually assaulted her.

Mr Ward said: "She flinched the first time but gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought it may have been accidental contact at that point.

"He said nothing, he made no comment, then repeated the same touching another five times.

"She tensed up and felt afraid. She was alone in the shop with him, behind a locked door and he had told her he spent time in the army."

Victim two was contacted by Goss on Facebook messenger and he offered his services to her, again for £20.

Mr Ward said: "She was shocked and scared when he said that but didn't say anything.

"She was alone with him in a basement room."

The woman said Goss suggested she drank more water for a medical condition and told her to ring him every time she took a drink.

He then touched her between the legs in the same way as victim one.

Mr Ward said: "That caused her to gasp out loud.

"She thought it must have been an accident. He didn't apologise or say anything.

"He did it a second time and she clamped her legs together.

"He asked her to relax then pushed his hand between her legs, rubbing her vagina, again.

"She said he did it more than 20 times during the one hour massage.

"She was too afraid to confront him given the circumstances. She just hoped it would end and she would be able to get out without anything more serious happening.

Aside from giving massages at his shop, Goss would also visit company premises to provide massages for employees.

At one well-known firm, he asked victim three to undress down to her underwear and gave her a towel which prosecutors said was too small to cover her top and bottom half.

As he massaged her in a "sweeping motion" he sexually assaulted her.

Mr Ward said: "He made no apology. She flinched and adjusted her position to make it more difficult for him to do that.

"She pulled the towel down and he moved it up again and he touched her another twice in the same way.

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Victim four was sexually assaulted by being touched between her legs twice during a massage at a sports club.

Goss was cleared of two further sexual assault charges.

Lorraine Mustard, defending, said he began the business in 2014 after retiring from the Royal Navy.

She said the business is now closed and he has no intention of doing that kind of work in the future.

Miss Mustard added that a pre-sentence report said that he is a low risk of re-offending and plans to look for alternative employment.