14/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Child Sex Offender Jailed After 20 Years Of Abuse: Karl Clay Poured Petrol Over His Victims And Threatened To Set Them Alight

Child sex offender jailed after 20 years of abuse: Karl Clay poured petrol over his victims and threatened to set them alight

A serial paedophile who poured petrol over his victims and threatened to set them on fire during a 20 year campaign of abuse has been sentenced to life in prison.

Karl Clay, 39, sexually assaulted 10 different victims in a string of horrific attacks. The youngest was just six years old. Police said 20-stone Clay may have had further victims and appealed for others who may have been abused to come forward.

Clay, from Coventry, systematically targeted both adults and children during a two decade reign of terror - using various threats to make them comply with his demands.

It was only after two of his youngest victims - now in their teens - broke their silence in 2011 that police launched a major probe and uncovered a catalogue of crimes dating back into the early 1990s.

Warwick Crown Court heard Clay threatened his victims with weapons while subjecting them to prolonged and degrading sexual acts.

He was found guilty of 13 charges spanning almost 20 years - including two counts of raping a child under 13. He will serve a minimum of 15 years.

He was also found guilty of two counts of rape, two counts of actual bodily harm, attempted rape, indecency with a child, indecent assault and putting a person in fear of violence.

His other convictions were for threats to kill, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and putting a person in fear of violence by harassment.

Detective Inspector Christopher Hanson, of West Midlands Police, had previously described how Clay poured petrol over three of his victims, including two children, and threatened to set them alight by repeatedly flicking a lighter next to them.

Clay tried to smother one woman with a pillow and held another's head under water.

Hanson said: "Karl Clay is easily the vilest offender I have ever dealt with in the 21 years that I have been a police officer and his victims have been terribly brave in giving the evidence that was crucial in convicting him.

"Whilst our inquiry uncovered 10 of Clay's victims, I would be surprised if there aren't others out there.

"I would urge anyone else who has suffered because of him to contact the police."

"Clay stopped at nothing and Coventry is a safer place with him off the streets."