April 2012

Perverted Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade leader jailed for 12 years

PAEDOPHILE Boys’ Brigade leader Terence Cawte has been jailed for 12 years for grooming and sexually abusing two boys.

The 74-year-old was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court for crimes dating back to the 1970s when he was captain of the Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade.

Cawte, a married father-of-three, was found guilty of systematically abusing his two victims at his home and at his former bookshop, the Portsmouth Christian Book Centre, in New Road, North End.

Following an eight-day trial, the jury took four-and-a-half hours to reach unanimous verdicts on five multiple incident counts of indecent assault on a male, one of indecency with a child and two other sexual offences.

Passing sentence Judge Ian Pearson told Cawte, who had attended Leigh Park Methodist Church and was well-known for his charity work, that he was guilty of a gross breach of trust.

He said: ‘When you committed these offences you were a highly respected member of your local community and I do accept that you have done a great deal of good within that community.

‘However, these two boys looked up to you and respected you and expected you to look after them.

‘Instead you used your position to groom and abuse those two vulnerable boys.

‘Both of your victims had significant problems within their home lives and you used those to be able to abuse them sexually.’

He added that Cawte’s two victims had suffered severe emotional damage as a result of the abuse they endured.

‘This was a significant and sustained gross breach of trust and it was over a very lengthy period indeed,’ he said.

Sarah Jones, defending, said despite abusing two boys in his care Cawte, of Maytree Gardens, Waterlooville, had otherwise lived a life of ‘positive benefit’ to the community that he lived in.

She said: ‘In the lives of his family Mr Cawte has been nothing but a good and loving father and grandfather.

‘Now in his late 70s, he faces a sentence which may very likely mean he will not see his grandchildren again. When the verdict was read out he aged 20 years in 20 seconds, he is no longer a well man.’