A paedophile uncle has been jailed after being convicted of abusing his own niece and nephews from the age of two.

John Bodycombe was found guilty of 14 counts of indecent assault at Newport Crown Court, on his niece Helen Pearce and her brothers David and Andrew Pearce.

The 58-year-old of Bridgend, in Wales, was in his 20s when he began sexually abusing his sister's children in 1977, the court was told.

Bodycombe had initially pleaded his innocence but Wales Online reported that he partially admitted his guilt after the verdicts were returned.

The court was told that Helen Pearce and her brothers David and Andrew Pearce were abused when they visited their grandparents' home in Neath Port Talbot, and in their family home in Bridgend.

Bodycombe, of Bridgend, was sentenced to a total of 17 years in prison and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

All three of Bodycombe's victims waived their right to anonymity to encourage other victims of sexual assault to come forward.

In a victim impact statement read by prosecutor Janet McDonald, Helen, now 42, said she was abused from the age of two or three and this did not stop until she was eight years old.

"As a child I was referred to as being miserable and told to smile more but no wonder I was miserable. It was a very confusing time," she said according to Wales Online.

"I really loved my uncle John but now I feel nothing but hate for him. It makes me feel sick to think I loved a man who preyed on a child. I was so confused I thought I would marry him.

"When I got older I felt dirty and rude and the realisation my uncle sexually abused me had an impact on my self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem.

"I went off the rails and didn't care what happened to me. I entered into an abusive relationship where my partner was controlling and he abused me emotionally and physically."

Helen said that a chance meeting with Bodycombe led to her having a breakdown and led to a suicide attempt in 2007.

Andrew Pearce, 35, of Neath Port Talbot, was abused by Bodycombe on three occasions as a young child and said: "What this man has done has devastated our family when he performed the ultimate betrayal by taking advantage of me and my siblings when we were just children.

"He left me with little to no confidence in my youth and it has taken me many years to get my life on track I am angry with what this man has done to me, my sister and my brother."

David Pearce, 44, of Swansea, was abused by Bodycombe on one occasion, and said in a victim impact statement: "I visualised things and had flashbacks and my anger would manifest itself in different ways. I would be irritable for unknown reasons."