N "evil" child molester who subjected young girls to "quasi-satanic" sex abuse today smirked as he was jailed for nine years.

His "hedge witch" wife, who told the children they could trust her husband while he carried out "horrific and vile" sexual acts was jailed for three years.

David and Bette Stalford, of Oak Hill, Hollesley, made two of the three children abused strip naked in candlelit rooms and ordered them to perform sex acts on David.

The teenagers, who were unaware of each other's involvement at the time, were asked by the Stalfords if they were virgins.

They were then told to bathe to cleanse themselves and dress in nothing but white robes in the middle of the night before the rituals commenced.

Bette Stalford, 55, told one of the girls she needed her because she was part of a coven of witches who needed virgins for their Paganistic rituals.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that David Stalford, 56, also abused two of the three girls when they were aged just five or six.

The court heard that the abuse spanned 15 years and was carried out about 30 years ago. The couple also lived in Great Whelnetham and Honington.

Following a month-long trial, David Stalford was convicted of three counts of indecency and two of indecent assault with a child on his own.

He was also jointly found guilty with his wife of six offences of indecency with a child.

At today's sentence hearing David Stalford emerged from the cells dressed in a faded blue denim jacket and jeans and looking subdued. But by the time his sentence was passed, a grin had spread across his ashen features.

Bette Stalford also looked more dishevelled than at her previous court appearances. She was wearing a long grey cardigan over black clothing.

Judge Peter Thompson said prison had been particularly difficult for this woman of previous good character because the nature of the offences had resulted in fellow inmates dishing out their own forms of punishment.

They have been on remand in prison since being found guilty by a jury in mid-July.

Judge Thompson told the court the girls who were now mothers had suffered throughout their lives from the abuse.

He said: "The effect on the girls was profound. Their lives have been blighted and their own sexual lives as adults have been distorted."

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