AN ELDERLY Gympie grandfather who "sought sexual gratification from his granddaughters" has been jailed for four years by Gympie District Court.
Judge Leanne Clare told the man he had now been recognised as the predator from whom he was supposed to protect his family.
"You have lost your family, except your wife.
"As a grandfather you were trusted and loved and you betrayed that trust in the basest way," the judge said on Tuesday morning.
The man's wife held a handkerchief to her face as she wept during prosecution and defence submissions on Monday.
The man, now 82, was 68 at the time of the earliest offences, the court was told.
He cannot be named because it would identify his child victims.
He pleaded guilty to indecently treating two sisters, then aged 10 and six, and attempting to rape a third victim, 14.
Judge Clare noted that the most recent offence, involving the 14-year-old, had occurred only last year.
The earlier offences had been committed in 2004, in one case and 2005, in the other.
A psychologist's report said the man had said he could not understand his offending and had said: "Sometimes I don't think it was me."
Crown prosecutor Ron Swanwick said the psychologist had offered "no explanation for the inexplicable".
Judge Clare disagreed, saying one explanation was "inescapable in the absence of some other explanation".
"The irresistible explanation is that he sought sexual gratification from his granddaughters," she said.
She said the offences were not isolated, one-off events, but had been repeated over a long period.
"You exposed their bodies, touched them and made them touch you.
"On the last occasion, you tried to put your penis inside your granddaughter.
"She told her parents and the whole of the past came out.
"You are ashamed and embarrassed.
"The first(victim) cried with embarrassment and shame.
"All must have been frightened and ashamed.
"It's difficult to imagine the horror. All were traumatised.
"As their grandfather you were supposed to protect these children against predators.
"The children though recognised you as their predator.
"They stayed away from you (after the offences)," the judge said.
She said the man's poor health and age could be mitigating factors in penalty, but there was nothing to suggest his health issues could not be treated in jail.
Jail however would be a more difficult place for him.
"Rehabilitation is not the only principle (of sentencing)," she said, adding there also needed to be deterrent "for you and others" involved in crimes against children.
Taking into account his guilty plea, age and ill health, she sentenced the man to four years jail, suspended after 10 months for five years.
She warned him that if he committed any offences during that five years, his suspended sentence would be activated.
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