A SEXUAL predator who abused young girls has been jailed for more than six years.

Painter and decorator Mark Pape, of Mold Road, Connah’s Quay, targeted two girls of secondary school age at a caravan site and years earlier had groped and kissed another girl at a house in Saltney.

Pape, 48, admitted four counts of indecent and sexual assault and a fifth of attempted sexual assault. He was jailed for six years and four months and must register as a sex offender for life.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Pape: “There’s an element of predatory behaviour and grooming of the victims.”

Caernarfon Crown Court was told one of the victims was sexually abused while in her bikini at a swimming pool in a Gwynedd caravan park. Pape, who had a caravan, had become friendly with her grandparents.

Kim Halsall, prosecuting, said some years ago a girl had been groped and kissed passionately by Pape in a house in Saltney after he had been drinking. He was then aged about 30.

Miss Halsall said: “She didn’t tell anyone at the time. She feared what her family might do to him."

At the caravan site in 2008 a girl, described as timid and naive, was touched on her bottom as she tried on a swimming costume. She went to the swimming pool but Pape pulled the victim close to him and abused the youngster.

In a shower he had said: “I will give you a kiss later.”

There was then an attempted sexual assault in his caravan but the victim fled.

Miss Halsall said it was more than a year before the girl revealed to her mother what happened. The youngster’s behaviour had been affected and she had received counselling.

The third victim had returned to her parents’ caravan in her bikini when Pape claimed she had dirt on her bottom and he rubbed her.

She was frightened and soon afterwards burst into tears. A week later her parents discovered the full extent of what happened and police were informed.

Simon Rogers, defending, said Pape had not put the victims through the ordeal of giving evidence in court. He was a hard-working man and testimonials spoke highly of him. Pape had no previous convictions.

After the case the elder sister of the first girl assaulted by Pape said the victim was “pleased with” by the sentence. “She’s glad it won’t happen to any more children.”

The victim had confided in her sister and eventually went to the police after hearing about the other abuse.