"A twisted, vile monster" - ex-soldier jailed for assaulting schoolgirls
PUBLISHED: 17:30 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:30 21 November 2019
A former soldier who sexually assaulted two schoolgirls has been jailed for ten years.
Shane Townson was described by one of his victims, who has suffered flashbacks and nightmares since the assaults, as a "twisted, vile monster".
After the offences came to light in 2017 Shane Townson said he had "felt sick with himself" after the assaults and described himself as being a "monster inside",
He also said he had been constantly hungry for sex and had tried to control his urges by banging his head and scraping his face against a wall.
Townson, 58, formerly of Colchester, but now of Vicarage Gate, Saint Erth, Cornwall, admitted four offences of indecently assaulting a girl under 16 dating back to the 1990s after he left the Army.
He also appeared before a court martial sitting at Ipswich Crown Court for six offences of indecent assault dating back to 1983 while he was serving in the Army.
Sentencing him Judge Emma Peters, who was sitting as a Circuit Judge and a Judge Advocate, accused him of being "manipulative" and said he had assaulted the victims in the "most appalling way."
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She ordered Townson to sign the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life.
The court heard Townson, who was a Lance Corporal in 1 Squadron, Royal Corps of Transport, had sexually assaulted one of the girls while they were playing "hide and seek".
Lynne Shirley, for Townson, said he acknowledged the offences were serious and that he was facing a significant period of imprisonment.
She said he had made admissions to the offences and hadn't put the victims through the added trauma of giving evidence during a trial.
Miss Shirley said her client was a different person to the one who had committed the offences several decades ago.
She said he had made six suicide attempts and had been receiving treatment for depression.
She said Townson had joined the Army in 1978 and left in 1993.
"His conduct was exemplary," said Miss Shirley.
She said Townson served in the Gulf War in 1991 and in Kurdistan and believed he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.