A church elder was last night beginning a 10 year sentence for abusing five little girls.

To everyone who knew him, retired lorry driver James Gallogley, 66, was a respectable member of the community.

A happily married man, his wife of 40 years bore him four children.

As an elder at Calder Parish Church in Coatbridge, he was in regular contact with children at the Sunday school, and beyond reproach.

But for two sets of sisters, Gallogley was the pervert who sexually abused them in a 12 year reign of depravity.

One was abused in his bedroom after Gallogley held a Bible and told her: ''It is God's way.''

The four girls, now all adults, kept their secrets, the High Court in Glasgow heard, until Gallogley was accused of interfering with another girl in April this year.

When news of his arrest spread, mothers who knew their children had contact with Gallogley years before, quizzed their daughters, and the abuser was unmasked.

Yesterday Gallogley of Whifflet Court, Coatbridge, admitted a total of 11 charges of abusing the five girls.

Two involved the attempted rape of two children, and the rest lewd and libidinous behaviour.

Sentencing him, Lord Cameron told Gallogley: ''Your conduct over the last 20 years has been of a kind which cannot be properly described.

''It was against vulnerable young girls and for your own self gratification.''