A “predatory paedophile” who sexually abused five children while working as an entertainer has been jailed for life.
Anthony Lewis, 58, of Burton Latimer in Northamptonshire, set up talent show companies and preyed on young girls under the guise of getting them gigs and making them famous, Norfolk Police said.
The force said Lewis admitted on Wednesday at Norwich Crown Court to offences committed against five girls, aged between four and 17, between 1987 and 2007.
He pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape, 10 indecent assaults and one count of sexual assault.
Lewis was jailed for life on Thursday and must serve at least 11 years behind bars before he is considered for release.
The defendant, who also goes by the names Chaz, Chas, Charlie and Tony, would befriend the parents of vulnerable children and make links with the likes of church and charity groups, where he knew young people would be present.
Police began an investigation in 2017 when one of his victims reported the historic abuse and Lewis was arrested the following month.
The charges involve multiple offences against each victim and were committed in Norfolk, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and London.
Detective Constable Verity Holmes, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said after the hearing: “Lewis was a predatory paedophile who would target children’s talent shows, music festivals, church and charity groups, where he knew children would be present and have opportunity to abuse them.
“Lewis’s offending spanned over three decades and we know his work in entertainment took him across the country.”
Statements from the five victims were read out to the court, with one saying: “He took away my innocence, my childhood and my ability to form relationships with others.”
Judge Andrew Shaw, sentencing, told Lewis the statements were “among the saddest and most upsetting I’ve ever heard”.
“No underestimation you have ruined their lives,” he said.
“They have suffered the most severe psychological harm at your hands.”
Hendrika Tatam, a specialist rape and serious sexual offences prosecutor, said: “This case demonstrates that where there is sufficient evidence we will not shy away from prosecuting perpetrators of sexual abuse no matter how long ago the offences were committed and we worked closely with the police to ensure that he was brought to justice for his despicable conduct.”