AN EX-SOLDIER who raped a teenage girl and sexually assaulted another has been jailed for ten years.

Christopher Jones Hughes, 34, of Sycamore Avenue, Tredegar, was described by Judge Stephen Hopkins as a “wicked, wicked man” and said the psychological effects on the victims would be “incalculable”.

Hughes, who also worked as a retained firefighter in Gwent, must serve a minimum of five years in jail for nine counts of sexual assault and rape.

Prosecutor Michael Jones told Cardiff Crown Court that Hughes, a former soldier, sexually kissed a girl under the age of 13 and put his hands underneath her jumper and in her trousers.

He apologised and told the victim not to tell anyone, the court heard.

Last year Hughes gave a separate victim alcohol and sexually assaulted and raped her.

He asked the victim, who was under 16, if she had lost her virginity and told her: “It didn’t count, it wasn’t really rape.”

In three separate incidents, he touched her and attempted to sexually assault her, as well as asking her to sleep with him.

Hughes told police that he was confused, knew it was wrong but didn’t know why he did it. He also admitted sending a text message stating that he needed to be chemically castrated and needed help.

He said he was glad it had all come out to “stop it happening again”.

Marion Lewis, mitigating, said Hughes’ remorse is genuine and he wished he could turn back time.

Sentencing, Judge Hopkins said: “You are in my judgement a wicked, wicked man. The only question I have to ask myself is how long the inevitable prison sentence should be.”

Hughes was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for sexually kissing and assaulting the first victim, and eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for assaulting and raping the second victim, to be served consecutively.

He will be disqualified from working with children indefinitely, was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.