AN ELPHINSTONE man who raped a 10-year-old girl has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Ian Dempster, 61, of HMP Doncaster, was in Sheffield Crown Court today (Wednesday), where he was jailed after being convicted by a jury earlier this week of six counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of exposure and one count of indecent assault against two victims.

Dempster, who previously lived in Elphinstone and before that in Dunbar, was jailed for 18 years and a further three years extended licence, totalling 21 years.

Police launched an investigation into Dempster in January 2016 when the two women came forward to report what had happened to them.

Officers travelled to HMP Edinburgh to interview Dempster, who was serving a sentence for previous sexual offences.

Dempster was then charged in April 2016 and denied all of the offences.

Dempster threatened his victims with violence and one of his victims – who he abused over an eight-year period – was told that she would never see her loved ones again if she reported what happened.

Detective Constable Emma Shipley, investigating officer, said: “Both of his victims lived in fear and suffered horrific abuse at the hands of this sexual predator who preyed on young, innocent girls for his own sexual gratification.

“Dempster has shown no remorse, continuing to deny all of the charges against him and therefore forcing the two women to relieve their experiences again in court.

“I cannot praise their strength and courage throughout the trial and the entire investigation enough.

"The sentence today is testament to them, in their bravery in coming forward and determination to see him convicted and behind bars. They are remarkable women.

“I’m incredibly pleased that Dempster will be behind bars for the next two decades and hope that today’s result goes some way in helping the victims continue moving forward with their lives.”

After Dempster had been found guilty of the charges, PC Shipley had earlier said: “Dempster is a despicable and opportunistic sexual predator who preyed on innocent and vulnerable girls.

“One of his victims was primary-school-aged when he raped her and he continued to do this for an eight-year period.

“He told her she would never see her loved ones again if she told anyone.

“[The two women's] strength and bravery throughout has been exceptional and, thanks to them, this monster will stay behind bars for the rest of his life.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Dempster may have believed he had escaped justice for his crimes, but his victims have shown a great deal of courage in coming forward, speaking out about their ordeals and helping to ensure their abuser is behind bars for a very long time.

“Abuse ruins childhoods and its devastating effects can last into adulthood.

"It is vitally important that victims have the confidence to come forward, no matter how much time has passed, so offenders can be brought to justice and survivors can finally receive help and support.”

The offences date back to a period between 1998 and 2009 and took place at a variety of locations across Scotland and South Yorkshire.

Three charges against a third victim were dismissed in court due to lack of evidence.