A SEXUAL predator who "thought he was untouchable" as he abused children over a period of decades has been locked up for 17 years.

Paedophile Grant Lee, 62, carried out his sickening campaign of abuse from 1980 until 2017.

His crimes involve a number of children, all under the age of 16.

Officers working with Essex Police's child abuse investigations team first received reports of his horrifying campaign in January 2017.

After securing charges against him, Lee, of Turpins Avenue, Clacton, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He was found guilty on 15 counts of indecent assault on a child, one count of assaulting a child by touching and one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Appearing at the same court today, Lee was jailed for a total of 17 years.

Investigating officer DC Emily Monk described Lee as a "wicked man."

She praised his victims for the "courage and bravery" they had shown throughout the case.

She said: “Lee is a sexual predator who took advantage of young vulnerable people for his own sexual gratification.

“He subjected children to sexual abuse over a number of decades and when we received information about his sickening crimes just two years ago, we worked tirelessly to bring him to justice.

“Lee thought he was untouchable and that his abuse, both historic and recent, would continue to go unpunished.

"He thought wrong and has been sentenced accordingly."

She added: “Lee is a wicked man and our communities can only be safer with him in prison.

“I would like to conclude this case by offering my praise to the victims who showed an enormous amount of courage and bravery. I hope this outcome offers some justice to them.”

Lee was also slapped with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and will remain on the sex offender's register for life.