“elements of brazenness” to the abuse

Dangerfield’s defence lawyer Julian Noud accepted the offending was serious but argued for a wholly suspended sentence given the delay of 55 years.

He said there was “ample material” to prove rehabilitation and Dangerfield deserved credit for good character as a popular community leader and devoted husband.

“He’s lived a completely blameless life, this man,” Mr Noud said.

Chief Judge Kerry O’Brien said it was “a most unusual case” because Dangerfield’s conduct over the past 50 years demonstrated significant rehabilitation.

“You have lived an exemplary life,” Judge O’Brien said.

“The major feature of sentencing now must be one of public denunciation of your conduct.”

Judge O’Brien sentenced Dangerfield to three years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of five years.