A 61-YEAR-OLD man has been convicted today of repeatedly raping and sexually abusing two girls who were just six-years-old when the offences started.

Stephen Smith was also found guilty at Gloucester Crown Court of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old boy but was cleared of cruelty to the boy.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC remanded him in custody overnight and will sentence him tomorrow, Friday.

There was sobbing from the public gallery as the jury's verdicts on the six charges were announced at the end of a trial lasting more than a week.

The offences happened in the Nailsworth area, where Smith lived until the 1980s, and later in Wales.

He moved to Ty Mawr, Llanbydder, nr Carmarthen in the mid-1980s.

Prosecuting barrister Paul Cook told the court the offences date back to 1976 and spanned some 20 years from that date.

"The defendant was mentally cruel, physically and sexually abusive to these children and they had complained to the police in the past but withdrew their complaints," he said.

"On one occasion he raped one of the girls in a bedroom, placing his hand over her mouth."

The prosecuting barrister told the court how the defendant raped one of the girls in a shed, a garage and in the back seat of his car.

"He made her put on an adult woman’s pair of knickers and touch him sexually before he raped her," said Mr Cook. "He would use condoms."

The young boy was sexually abused in a caravan and was made to stand still for hours with heavy books on his head until he shook, it was alleged.

"The assaults happened when the girls were aged between six and nine, but they slowed down as they reached puberty," said Mr Cook.

Smith was arrested in march 2013 when complaints were finally made to the police by his victims.

In evidence Smith had denied abusing any of the three children in any way and claimed they had made the allegations to try to get money from him.