A "depraved" man from Gravesend who molested a five-year-old girl been jailed for nine years after admitting the sexual abuse.

Matthew Underwood, of no fixed address, was arrested after the youngster told a relative about the abuse.

The 34-year-old initially denied the allegations but on April 12 when trial was due to start last month he admitted four offences of sexual assault and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Underwood was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday (May 12).

He assaulted the child over a period of months in 2013, telling her to keep it a secret.

The victim reported the abuse to a family member in September last year.

The family member contacted Kent Police, who arrested Underwood.

As well as nine years’ imprisonment, Underwood will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order upon his release and will remain on the sexual offenders’ register for life.

Investigating officer, DC Zoe Traynor, said: "Every child matters to Kent Police and protecting vulnerable members of our communities is paramount.

"The victim in this case was a very young girl who was incredibly brave in coming forward and talking to our officers in order for us to build up the necessary evidence against Underwood. She is now protected from further sexual abuse and I hope this custodial sentence will give her family the strength to move on from their terrible ordeal.

"Underwood is a depraved individual who showed absolutely no regard for the effect his dreadful actions had on his victim."