A veteran medieval war games actor from Chesham who sexually assaulted eight women was jailed for almost five years on Thursday.

White-haired Trevor Pilling, from Lycrome Lane, often the used the cover of his golden cape to fondle women while working as a founder member of The Lion Rampant Medieval Re-enactment Society.

The 84-year-old appeared before a judge via a video link from prison yesterday and looked tired and haggard.

He was sentenced to four years and 11 months by Judge Catherine Tulk after a jury had earlier convicted him of 12 counts of sexual assault against eight victims.

Pilling always played the role of Sir William Marshal, the 1st Earl of Pembroke, in medieval re-enactment battles staged by the society up and down the UK and aboard. He was said to "encircle" his victims with his cloak.

Some of his assaults were carried out at his victims' homes - one even when her husband was outside the door.

Judge Tulk described how new members of the re-enactment group were warned about Pilling’s behaviour on and off the stage.

The court also heard how Pilling had offered and even been approached by his victims to heal them with crystals and during treatment had abused them.

Judge Tulk said: “The victim said she had a problem with her back and asked if you could heal her. You massaged her back with one hand and with the other you reached and touched her breast.”

Among the convictions was the fact that Pilling stood behind one woman when she was in darkness and groped her breasts.

The court heard Pilling "encircled" women with his large medieval cloak during re-enactments so he could cup their breasts and then "carry on as if nothing had happened."

Judge Tulk said that on one occasion Pilling allegedly placed his hand on the back of one woman, who had recently had an operation, and told her he had "healing hands" that "could heal her" and he could "see a shadow on her back."

A victim impact statement read out at Aylesbury Crown Court said: “The abuse that Trevor Pilling subjected me to has had an overwhelming and significant impact on my life.

“I had a complete character change. I had been happy but I became closed off. As a result of the abuse I stopped going to church and lost that community and lost my self-esteem.

“Having to relive the experience in the trial was extremely traumatising.”

Pilling looked on blankly throughout out the sentencing proceedings, even when he was told he would face almost five years behind bars.