A SEX beast previously hailed a hero is today starting a 17-year jail sentence after being unmasked as a child rapist.
Former lifeboatman John Farman faces the prospect of dying behind bars after he was caged at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
The 64-year-old was part of a group that was given the freedom of Hartlepool in 1986 for his volunteer work with the RNLI.
He also spent many years working at Hartlepool Power Station and as a part-time fireman.
But he hid a dark secret that for years he had been sexually abusing two young girls.
Farman was found guilty of six counts of rape and another six of indecent assault dating back decades after a four-day trial in February.
The judge said he had robbed one of their victims of her innocence and ruined her life.
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said the abuse against her was very regular.
“She talked about it being constant,” he said.
The trial previously heard how the same victim shouted out for help during one of the attacks.
When no-one responded Farman said to her: “See, I can do what I want when I want to you.”
The jury also heard sickening details from the victims about how he fondled them and even showed one of them a porn movie as well as raping her.
The victims did not feel able to report the disgusting abuse until they reached adulthood.
One of the girls told the jury she thought such abuse was “normal” at the time.
But after confiding in others they plucked up the courage to report Farman, of Amberton Road, Hartlepool, to the police and he was arrested last year.
The jury unanimously found him guilty of all 12 charges.
Adrian Dent, mitigating for Farman, who continues to deny the crimes, said: “He is expecting a very long sentence.
“He is going to spend perhaps the rest of his life in prison.”
Judge Michael Taylor said: “These are acts that fall very high on the scale of offending behaviour.
“They were committed for your own gratification and without any thought to those young girls and their innocence.
“You know that I have no choice other than to impose a very substantial prison sentence.
“You exercised control over those girls. It was repeated time after time after time.”
Police welcomed the sentence and stressed they will go after offenders no matter when the crimes were committed.
Detective Constable Gillian Parkes, of the Protecting Vulnerable People unit, said: “I welcome this sentence and believe it reinforces our message that we will always investigate thoroughly, sensitively and professionally all allegations of sexual abuse whether it occured recently or a long time ago.
“My thoughts remain with the victims and I hope the sentence will in some way help them move on with their lives.”