A SELBY area man was today facing a lengthy prison sentence after admitting to child abuse.

Robert Ascough, 63, of Turnham Lane, Cliffe, admitted a string of sex offences spread over three decades.

Turnham initially denied the offences, but on the day he was due to stand trial at York Crown Court, and with witnesses standing by to give evidence against him, he changed his plea.

He admitted he subjected two boys to four years of abuse and to committing serious sexual offences against them.

Judge Shaun Spencer QC said: “I am sure you must appreciate you must prepare yourself for a substantial sentence.”

Ascough pleaded guilty to four indecent assaults and a serious sexual offence against a teenage boy between 1977 and 1981. He also admitted four indecent assaults and attempted rape of a second boy between 1995 and 1999.

Ascough’s barrister, Taryn Turner, successfully asked for the case to be adjourned so pre-sentence and psychiatric reports could be prepared.

She applied for him to continue bail until then so he could deal with matters concerning his home, dog and financial affairs.

The judge told Ascough: “Apart from these matters, you have not been in trouble for a considerable number of years. No doubt there are matters which you will need to sort out. In the circumstances, I am prepared to grant bail.”

The court heard Ascough has no previous convictions.

The judge added conditions to the conditional bail Ascough was already on and adjourned sentence until March 11.

Until then, Ascough must keep away from the two boys, both of whom are now adults, not have unsupervised contact with any child under 16, live at a specific address and attend the probation service offices for the preparation of the pre-sentence report.