A SEX offender who assaulted a girl in her bedroom while her dad was downstairs has been jailed for 31 months.

Floydd Ettridge, 34, admitted 10 sample counts of sexual assault on four girls aged 10 and 11, and a further 19 offences of downloading indecent images of children - one of which was of the most serious kind seen in courts in England and Wales.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard that he befriended the father of two of the girls and would offer to look after the children.

Prosecutor Rob Griffiths said: "On one occasion, in October 2005, he came round to the house to say he understood the girls had got nits in their hair.

"He said he was going to wash the girls' hair and was forceful.

"Their dad said it was nothing to do with him, and he said he wanted to help and said he'd wash their hair, so their dad accepted it."

Some time later, the girls told their father Ettridge had been touching them sexually.

Both told police he had repeatedly assaulted them, with one girl describing an incident when Ettridge came upstairs to molest her after having a cup of coffee with her father downstairs.

They also told officers he had touched two other girls, and when the police interviewed the other two, they confirmed this.

Ettridge, previously from Verwood, moved away following the crimes to stay with his parents in Northolt, Middlesex.

Mr Griffiths said that, following the incident, the children do not talk to anyone they do not know and do not like to hear Ettridge 's name.

"They now call him The Thing," he said.

The police searched Ettridge's computers and found more than 300 pornographic photographs of children, varying in seriousness.

Edmund Gritt, defending, said in mitigation that his client had pleaded guilty to avoid putting the girls through a trial, was remorseful about his actions and had deleted the photos after looking at them.

Judge Samuel Wiggs said the sexual assaults had happened over a period of around nine months.

"What you did to these four young girls was dreadful and will probably remain with them for the rest of their lives," he said.

He sentenced Ettridge to 23 months in prison for the assaults and a further eight months for the indecent images

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