mark sewell
Mark Sewell was found guilty of a total of eight sex offences South Wales Police

A Jehovah's Witness who was found guilty of abusing young girls and fellow worshipers has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Mark Sewell, 53, was convicted of eight historic sex offences, including rape, against four women between 1987 and 1995 following a trial at Merthyr Crown Court.

Judge Richard Twomlow said the elder had showed "not a thread of remorse" after he was found guilty for raping and indecently assaulting female members of his Jehovah's Witness church in his home town of Barry, south Wales.

Sewell was found not guilty of one count of indecent assault; with the judge ordering the jury to clear him of a further three counts during the trial.

The jury heard how Sewell had "shredded" the knickers of the woman he raped, as well as assaulting two "young and vulnerable teenagers".

Twomlow added: "Your victims felt inhibited about what they could say because of your position as an elder. You caused distress in the lives of your victims who had the feeling they were disbelieved.

"You have shown not a thread of remorse."

The court also heard how the Jehovah's Witnesses did not provide anything to police during their investigation and even destroyed evidence showing allegations of child abuse and rape, reports Wales Online.

Prosecutor Caroline Rees told the court: "We have made every inquiry with the church – both the local church and the national church. All the material has been destroyed due to the passage of time."

All Jehovah's Witnesses churches are registered charities. The Charity Commission said they are investigating the allegations surrounding Sewell's congregation.

A spokesperson added: "The commission stresses that it is not a safeguarding authority and its inquiries will not investigate allegations of abuse or actual incidents of abuse, whether historic or recent. Its concern is with the proper regulation of charities."