A man from Dunstable has pleaded guilty of 17 counts of child sexual abuse, in relation to crimes dating back to the 1970s.
Michael Grimes, 70, from Croft Green, pleaded guilty to the offences at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday (27 September).
Grimes’ crimes continued over a series of decades, from the 1970s to the present day.
He sexually abused four girls on multiple occasions over a number of years, and was also found to have more than 4,000 indecent images of children on his computer, including almost 1,000 of the more severe category.
Grimes was arrested after police received intelligence suggesting the downloading of indecent images to his home computer.
A warrant was executed in August 2016 and thousands of images were subsequently discovered on his media devices along with a miniature covert recording device.
Shortly afterwards, a victim contacted police to say that she had been sexually abused by Grimes in the 1970s. This then led to further victims coming forward.
Investigation Officer Paul Baddeley said: “It is impossible to comprehend the level of sexual abuse that Grimes has inflicted on his victims over the past five decades.
“This is one of the most shocking cases that I’ve encountered. Not only did Grimes sickeningly abuse four girls on multiple occasions over a period of years, he also progressed his level of offending into the digital age and took advantage of the Internet to feed his vile and abhorrent fantasies by downloading images of the very worst type of child sexual abuse.
“I’d like to praise the victims for their courage in coming forward and the bravery they showed in the harrowing testimonies they provided. I’d also like to thank the numerous officers that have worked on this difficult case.
“I hope that this will give the victims the chance to move on as best they can, and that it shows others who have experienced abuse that they can come forward to police and that we can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to come forward.”
Grimes has been remanded in custody pending sentencing at a later date.
Anyone who has concerns about child sexual abuse should contact police on 101, or call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.