A rapist who attacked a string of underage girls was caught by police with a child victim in his car while already under investigation for sex attacks.

When Jay Connor, 20, was caught with an underage girl he had just raped, police officers realised he was already being probed over other allegations of sex assaults dating back to the previous year.

Officers found him in his car with the schoolgirl, who was under 16 at the time, in a car park in Epsom Downs, Surrey, and noticed he was "behaving suspiciously".

She then told police she had been raped by Connor and he was arrested.

Connor was sentenced to nine years in prison, with a further five years on extended licence once he is released, at Guildford Crown Court on Friday.

Even after being arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault in October 2019, Connor carried on meeting more victims while the allegations were being investigated, Surrey Police said.

With almost all the victims, Connor lied about his past and his health in order to manipulate them into having sex with him, police added.

At his arrest, he was already known to Surrey Police over other allegations of sex offences, the earliest of which was made in 2018.

A total of seven alleged victims came forward to accuse Connor over this three-year period.

Throughout his six-week trial Connor maintained his innocence and claimed all the victims were lying.

But he was found guilty of six counts of rape of a woman 16 years of age or over, two charges of sexual activity with a child and one count of sexual assault by penetration.

One victim, who was just 15 at the time, described after his conviction how the assault affected her confidence and future relationships.

She told the court: "I can't trust boys or men and I can't see how I will be able to have a normal relationship as I can't bear to be physically touched and I don't know when it is OK to believe nice things that someone may say to me.

"I don't ever want any man to look at me in the same way that he felt he could use me, without any respect for me as a human being.

"I am not sure how to make you [the sentencing judge] fully understand the devastating effect he has had on my life. I did survive the ordeal but the scars that remain are very deep and I need to feel safe again"

Connor, from Tadworth, Surrey, was also put on the Sex Offenders Register for life and handed a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order by the judge.

Another girl, who was 14 when Connor raped her in Priory Park in Reigate, Surrey, spoke during the hearing in a bid to help other victims.

She said: "I did not expect anything like this to ever happen to me. I have never felt so small and lonely, not knowing what to think or feel.

"The whole range of emotions I have gone through have been confusing, upsetting, unnerving and very difficult to cope with. I can now see that Jay had a plan and knew exactly what he was doing."

Detective Constable Leah Best, from Surrey Police, who led the investigation, said Connor manipulated his victims and subjected them to "traumatic sexual assaults".

DC Best added: "I commend the bravery of the victims in this case for coming forward and ensuring that Connor was brought to justice for his heinous crimes."

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.