THE heart-breaking pain caused by child rapist Andrew Chapman was powerfully expressed by his victims as the 50-year-old was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court for his "grotesque" abuse.

For more than 20 minutes, prosecutor Tim Evans read from detailed statements written by the two traumatised victims.

Chapman denied any wrongdoing. But after hearing the evidence - some of it harrowing - a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all seven charges: two counts of child rape; three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity; and two charges of sexually assaulting a child.

The court heard that one of the victims was pre-school age when Chapman began the abuse while the second girl was still at primary school.

Despite there being seven formal charges, these were specimens of multiple instances of child sexual abuse by the defendant, whose crimes were exposed after his perverted online conversations attracted the attention of paedophile hunters.

In court yesterday, the focus was on his victims. Both had written powerfully about the abuse's legacy of physical and psychological damage.

One girl said she that was so young when it started she initially had no idea that being subjected to such abuse was not normal.

She recalled being an aggressive child, and how nobody could understand why she was like that.

Too embarrassed to tell anybody, she feared nobody would believe her if she told them what Chapman had done.

"I started to think it was my fault," she said. "I remember feeling suicidal in the last year of primary school."

As a teenager, she suffered 'profound emotional distress,' and found it hard to form relationships, fearing people wanted her for sex; feeling unable to be alone in any room with a man. Describing her episodes of self-harm, the girl said: "I felt as though what he had done had poisoned me.

"I was trying to physically bleed away the poison."

She also attempted suicide, and suffered trauma -nduced hallucinations. The second girl spoke of similar effects - suffering nightmares and eating disorders. She said: "I always thought I'd get married and have children. Now I can't trust anybody."

Prosecutor Tim Evans had told the jury how Chapman was arrested after he was confronted on his doorstep by paedophile-hunters." 

Their attention was drawn to him after he engaged in perverted online conversations, at time boasting about the abuse he had inflicted on his young victimes. 

Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Barker told Chapman: "When looking at the catalogue of this offending, all right-thinking people will be repulsed by your abuse... I am quite satisfied that you remain obsessed by the ideas of sexual abuse of children."

The judge referred to WhatsApp messages that Chapman had shared with a woman which were "troubling", and which displayed what the judge said was an "ingrained perversion," which involved the defendant fantasising about the most grotesque abuse of children."

Chapman, who has lived at Warwick Square in Carlisle and in Kendal, had shown no remorse, said the judge. There was no mitigation at all for Chapman's offences, said Judge Barker.

He jailed Chapman for 19 years, imposing an extra year's licence period following his release from prison. The defendant will become eligible for release only after he has served two thirds of his sentence and only if he is deemed to no longer pose a danger to the public.

He will be on the Sex Offender Register for life. Judge Barker said that the victim statements were "heart-wrenching", telling Chapman: "You have ripped up their childhood."

* There are various agencies which can help victims of sex assaults, regardless of whether there has been a prosecution. They inlclude the county's Sexual Assault Referral Centre, The Bridgeway

* Cumbria Police also have useful information, available on this link.

* You might also consider contacting Safety Net UK.

* For help with self-injury issues, you may consider Self Injury Support.

* You  can read about Chapman's sentencing hearing at Carlisle Crown Court on this link.