JEHOVAH'S Witness elder Mark Sewell has been jailed for 14 years for rape and seven counts of indecent assault, six of which were against children.

A three week trial at Merthyr Crown Court heard how Sewell, 53, of Porthkerry Road, Barry had used his position of power and influence within the church to sexually abuse women and girls over a 10 year period in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Sewell was found guilty of charges including committing what Judge Richard Twomlow described as a "brief but violent" rape of a female friend and fellow churchgoer at his home after which she became pregnant and miscarried.

Sewell, described in court as a "bully" and a "predator", had also abused two girls, including his niece Karen Morgen, when she was under the age of 14.

From the age of 12 Karen, who has waived her right to anonymity, had been kissed on the mouth by Sewell, who used his tongue and bribed her to kiss him "properly" by plying her with alcohol. He had also rubbed himself against her sexually, sometimes in her bed while wearing only his underwear and tried to make her undress in front of him.

Another girl had been given topless massages by him when she was around 13-years-old and a women who knew Sewell in the mid 90s was also indecently assaulted by him, and in one incident locked in a car and propositioned for sex.

Sewell appeared in court on Wednesday, July 2, via video link from Parc Prison Bridgend having been found guilty on Friday, June 27.

Sentencing him to 14 years imprisonment Judge Richard Twomlow said that Sewell had not shown a "shred of remorse" for the offences.

Describing how Sewell had, for many years, pulled the wool over the eyes of those close to him, those in the church and the committee of Jehovah's Witness elders who investigated him following allegations, Judge Twomlow said: ""You caused these women years of distress and a feeling of being ignored and disbelieved.

"When you gave evidence you used the same superficially clever bluster. Fortunately the jury saw through you."

Sewell will also be registered on the sexual offenders list for life.