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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Author jailed over sex assaults
Author William Mayne arrives at court
A children's author who sexually abused young girls he had groomed has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

William Mayne, 76, of Parson Hill, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, carried out 11 indecent assaults on girls between the 1960s to mid-1970s.

Mayne originally pleaded not guilty but admitted the charges at Teesside Crown Court. Judge David Bryant ordered not guilty verdicts on two charges of rape.

Mr Bryant added Mayne had enriched children's lives but had a darker side.

King Arthur trilogy

Mayne tried to retract his guilty pleas on the third day of the trial but this was dismissed by the judge.

Judge David Bryant said: "It seems to me that what we have here is someone who regrets his decision and he wishes to wriggle out of it."

The court heard Mayne had befriended hundreds of youngsters and had an open door at his homes, inviting children around to play and write poetry.

The jury heard he groomed the girls, who were all spellbound by his books, before subjecting them to abuse at his homes in North Yorkshire and London.

Mayne wrote more than 100 books, including a trilogy of novels about the legend of King Arthur entitled Candlefast, Cradlefast and Earthfast.

He won the Carnegie medal for children's literature in 1957.




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