The “historic” sentence handed down to Locksley Cummings was today hailed by police as “an unequivocal message” for would-be sex predators, who prey on children, “will have significant consequences”.

The day after 35-year sentence was meted out in the Supreme Court, a senior officer of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) said: “Hopefully it will serve as a strong deterrent.”

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sean Field-Lament said today: “The circumstances which led to these convictions were despicable and heinous.

“They involved the betrayal by a person of trust to young vulnerable victims.”

“The 35-year sentence sends an unequivocal message that offences of this nature have no place in our society and will have significant consequences.”

Cummings, who is 43, must serve at least half of his term – 17-and-a-half-years – before he is eligible for parole, following the attacks on two pre-teen sisters.

“Most importantly, I hope it brings some form of closure and comfort to the victims and family involved in this tragedy and that their healing process can continue, confident in the fact that they will not now have to encounter this individual,” said Mr Field-Lament.

“I wish to publicly acknowledge their courage in coming forward to bring this situation to the attention of the police.

“These cases are extremely emotive and require the highest professional standards to investigate and ultimately prosecute,” he added.

“I recognise the tremendous work done by the detectives of the Vulnerable Persons Unit and the Department of Public Prosecutions team in bringing this perpetrator to justice.

“Their hard work and dedication demonstrates our steadfast resolve to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”