A child rapist formerly of Letchworth has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for abusing three children over more than three decades.

Philip Parker’s abuse spanned 36 years – between 1968 and 2004 – and occurred while he was living in Letchworth and Essex.

The 63-year-old was arrested by Herts police in 2015 and was charged with 10 counts of rape.

Following a three-week trial in February this year, he was convicted of all offences by a jury and sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Friday. He had been remanded in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Parker was also given an additional year on licence, will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life and received an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order by Judge Stephen Warner, who described him as “predatory”, “controlling”, and “without shame or empathy”.

Senior crown prosecutor Yasmeen Malik said: “For more than 35 years, Parker systematically and violently sexually abused three young girls, telling two of them he would kill them if they told anyone what he was doing to them.

“In 1985 he was convicted at Cambridge Crown Court of two counts of gross indecency against a girl between 1981 and 1984 and was jailed for two years, which shows he has a propensity for sexual offending. He is clearly a depraved, ruthless and dangerous man.

“Parker denied any sexual wrongdoing, but on Tuesday, February 20, following a three-week trial at St Albans Crown Court he was found guilty of 10 counts of rape.

“We worked closely with Hertfordshire Constabulary from early in the investigation to help build the strongest possible prosecution case. Their investigators, CPS lawyers and caseworkers have worked tirelessly to bring this prosecution to court.

“It would not have been possible without the courage of the victims, who were willing to support proceedings.

“I commend them for their bravery. Time has not diminished the effect the abuse has had on the victims’ lives.

“They have waited a long time for justice and I hope that the convictions and Friday’s sentence give some small comfort to them after all these years. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.

“I urge any victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report it. We will support you in giving evidence so that your attackers can be brought to justice, and others like you can be saved from a similar horrific ordeal.”

An NSPCC spokeswoman said: “Parker is a vile sex offender who inflicted years of horrific abuse on several victims, keeping them silent with a campaign of threats and manipulation.

“By denying his crimes, he’s put his victims through the torment of a trial, but their tremendous courage in speaking out against their attacker has helped bring him to justice.

“This case shows that it is never too late for survivors of child abuse to speak out, no matter how much time has passed since the offences took place.”

Adults who are victims of non-recent abuse can contact the NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline for advice and support on 0808 800 5000.”

Victims of sexual abuse of violence who do not wish to speak to police directly can contact independent Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre for support.

The centre provides face-to-face support, sexual health referrals and can provide forensics medical examinations. To contact Herts SARC call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448 or email Herts.SARC@nhs.net.