A 67-YEAR-OLD man has been jailed for 12 years for raping and abusing three little girls.

Ian Burbank was arrested when one of his victims spoke out after the Childline charity gave a talk at her school, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The youngster was "shaking from head to foot" as she confided to her teacher what Burbank had done to her, prosecutor John Harrison said.

Burbank, of Moorside Gardens, Eccleshill, Bradford, pleaded guilty to nine offences against the three girls, spanning a four year period.

The charges included the repeated oral rape of the children, sexually assaulting them, inciting two of them to engage in sexual activity and forcing one to watch adult pornography.

Mr Harrison said Burbank began abusing his first victim when she was four years old.

The pensioner told the girls, aged between eight and ten, that he would be in trouble with the police and sent to prison if they did not keep quiet.

One little girl said she felt sick and disgusted after Burbank made her touch him indecently.

She was so traumatised she could not speak about her ordeal but had to write down the details of what he did to her.

After his arrest in July, Burbank immediately confessed the abuse to the police.

He said he told his victims it was a secret.

"He said it was a bit like an addiction and it was difficult to stop," Mr Harrison told the court.

Burbank's barrister, Camille Morland, said he had "offended in a terrible way against young children."

It was unusual for such criminals to be so open and frank with the police.

"He blames nobody but himself and he can't put the clock back. He is fully aware of the effect he must have had on the girls, now and in the future," Miss Morland said.

Burbank had never been in trouble before and he had been a hard working and upstanding member of the community.

"He was overcome with guilt after every incident and felt like killing himself," Miss Morland added.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, said Burbank abused the girls "in the most terrible way."

"One was brave enough to tell teachers what had happened to her after a visit to school by Childline. This shows the value of that sort of contact," Judge Thomas said.

Burbank must sign on the sex offenders' register for life and the judge made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order to protect the three girls and other children from him in the future.

After the case, Detective Constable Emma Dawson, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: "Burbank took advantage of his victims' young ages and vulnerability to carry out repeated sex attacks on them.

"We would like to thank them and their families for coming forward and reporting his crimes to the police, and hope that the sentence passed down today will give them some comfort.

"We also hope it will encourage other victims to come forward and speak to our specially trained officers, who will investigate all reports of sexual abuse thoroughly and sensitively, no matter how historic, with the intention of bringing the offenders to justice."