A stage manager at the Wyvern who groomed and sexually abused two children has failed in his bid to get his jail term slashed.

A judge said David Wicks ‘showed a woeful lack of remorse’ as he sent him down him to 10 years for a string of offences while working at the theatre.

The 56-year-old then tried to get the sentence shortened by challenging it at the Court of Appeal in London.

But the case was thrown out earlier this year meaning he must serve up to half of the jail term before he will be freed on early release.

And when he is free he will still have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life as well as abide by a sexual harm offences order restricting his liberty.

Wicks was stage manager at the Wyvern when he groomed and abused two vulnerable girls who were there on a summer dance project.

He molested the children, starting when they were 14 years old, in the dressing room at the town centre establishment.

And he then went on to have a full sexual relationship with one of the youngsters when she was 15, though he claims she was 16 by then, behind his wife’s back.

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Last year Pushpanjali Gohil, prosecuting, told how he carried out the repeated abuse on the victims, who each had eating disorders, between 1995 and 2001.

She said he was in his mid thirties when he started the abuse by kissing one of the girls after taking her to see some rabbits during an after show party at the theatre.

He then carried out sex acts on the girls, on separate occasions years apart, in the changing rooms and carried on with the second child at his home.

Miss Gohil said the offences against the first girl took place between July 1995 and July 1997 and the other between January 1999 and January 2001.

“He had a responsibility by virtue of his position for the safety of the children who were attending," she said.

“There were various instances of sexual assault that range from between kissing to oral sex and digital penetration.

“In essence the Crown says that Mr Wicks used his position of trust, his age, his authority, to groom these girls in to what he terms a consensual sexual relationships.

“It was classic grooming. He was targeting vulnerable young girls, he was aware of their mental health difficulties."

As a result of the abuse she said the two victims suffered many psychological issues as a result of what they were put through.

Wicks, now of Westergate, near Chichester, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to nine counts of indecent assault when he appeared at Swindon Crown Court.

Although he had no previous convictions he was dismissed from a job in 2014 for gross misconduct over sexual advances to an adult female, something he contests.

Jailing him Judge Robert Pawson said “In you presentence report, which I have read carefully, you describe the activities as consensual.

“Mr Wicks, there is no concept of consent with children, because they can’t consent. The law protects the children of this country not only from those who do and would abuse them but also from themselves.

“You said you thought they were 16 years old and a chemistry existed between you. That shows an utter lack of remorse and a lack of insight in to your behaviour. You were, as the probation officer says, minimising your behaviour.

“You view is these were no more than mad moments: something that is contradicted by the period over which you perpetrated these offences and frequency of them.

“You say the CPS has embellished the effect of these offences on the victims. That shows a woeful lack of remorse on your behalf.”

Allegations that he kissed and put his hand down the trousers of another underage girl will not be pursued and will lie on file with other matters he denied.