A SALESMAN has been jailed for seven years after sexually assaulting two small children.

Michael Gate, 61, of Maes-y-Parc, Chirk, denied 16 offences of indecent assault on two young girls when he was aged between 36 and 46, but he was convicted by a jury and jailed yesterday.

In addition to the seven-year sentence Gate, himself a father of three, was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for life.

He was banned for life from working with children in any way, whether paid employment or voluntarily.

Mold Crown Court was told that despite his denials and the trial in which the victims, now adult women, had to give evidence, Gate had since opened up for the first time and admitted what he had done.

His wife was in court supporting him despite what he had done.

Gate received a three year sentence for 11 offences relating to one girl and four years consecutive for six offences against another girl.

The offences happened in the 1980s and 1990s.

The judge said the offences occurred on girls of primary school age. The victims had expressed bewilderment, shock and confusion that they had been sexually abused by him.

It occurred at a time when they had little or no sexual understanding.

“It must have been greatly disturbing for them,” the judge told Gate.

The allegations emerged in spring last year and the judge said it plainly took some courage for the two women to speak of things ‘buried in their sub-conscience and memory for many years’.

It was, the judge said, systematic conduct for a period of 10 years.

The judge said he accepted the Probation Service view that there was unlikely to be a repetition of such conduct and said Gate did not present a risk to children at large. There had been no repeat of his offending in the last 16 years.

Myles Wilson, defending, said in recent years Gate had developed strategies to minimise the risk of re-offending such as not being alone with any young females.

Mr Wilson said two testimonials had been prepared by Gate’s godchildren who spoke highly of him.