A man aged 56 has been jailed for eight years for sexually abusing four girls more than two decades ago.

Patrick Brown, of Hall Lane, Shipley, was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court in December of five counts of indecent assault and indecency with a child.

On Thursday, Judge Ahmed Nadim said the young and vulnerable girls had been left scarred by the abuse, suffering from depression and anxiety and all still remaining deeply affected by what he had done.

They had taken the brave decision to report the matters to the police and gone through the harrowing experience of having to give evidence in court.

Prosecutor Gerald Hendron said Brown’s criminal record for damage, assault and possession of cocaine included a conviction for indecent assault dating from 1993. He was staying at a guest house in Blackpool when he groped a teenage girl in the night.

The court heard that the Bradford offences came to light when one of the women went to the police in 2018.

Brown had sexually assaulted her in a nightclub in the city by pinning her against a wall and touching her indecently.

She said she felt dirty and angry afterwards and all aspects of her life had been affected. She suffered with stress and anxiety and turned to drugs and alcohol for a time as a coping mechanism.

Another woman said she was wary and anxious around men she didn’t know in case they had a hidden agenda towards children.

The four women had been left with mental health problems, including depression, stress and anxiety, Mr Hendron said.

One victim was too young to know that what Brown was doing was wrong. It was only when she reached her mid-teens that she understood that she had been abused.

Jayne Beckett said in mitigation that Brown, who was sentenced on a video link to HMP Leeds, had been in custody for some time.

He had a number of serious health problems and he had split with his partner shortly before the trial.

Judge Nadim passed an extended sentence that meant Brown will serve up to two thirds of the eight years behind bars before the Parole Board can consider his release. He will then be on extended licence.

He must sign on the sex offender register for life and the judge made a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to protect children from Brown in the future and a restraining order without limit of time.