Jury hears of abuse by Boys’ Brigade leader

ON TRIAL Terence Cawte
ON TRIAL Terence Cawte
Julie Corben

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A BOYS’ Brigade leader and owner of a Christian book shop regularly abused boys he claimed to be helping, a court has heard.

Married father-of-three Terence Cawte is accused of repeatedly abusing two youngsters at his home in Waterlooville and at his former bookshop, The Portsmouth Christian Book Centre, in New Road, North End.

The 74-year-old denies the allegations.

Prosecutor Robert Bryan said Cawte had met both the children through his volunteer work as a Captain for the Havant and Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade, between the 1970s and 1990s.

‘It’s the crown’s case that two boys in particular went to him with their problems,’ Mr Bryan said.

‘With these two boys in his home he sexually abused them.’

The jury at Portsmouth Crown Court heard that one boy, who was aged 13 to 15 at the time, had gone to Cawte because he was having problems at home.

Another, who says he was abused from the age of five up to 16, went to Cawte for help with his school work.

Both of them claim Cawte would abuse them while his wife Maureen, who helped with the Girls’ Brigade, was out, along with his own children.

For years both alleged victims, who are now adults, kept what happened secret, the court heard, because they thought Cawte was so well-respected no one believe them.

Yesterday the jury was shown a video recording of a statement one of the alleged victims gave to the police.

In it the man, who says he was abused in the 1980s and 90s, and who is now in his 30s, said Cawte was helping him with school work when the abuse started.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Cawte told him: ‘You mustn’t tell anybody about this because it’s a secret and you will get into a lot of trouble.’

He added: ‘I got older and said, “this is not for me, I don’t like this”.

‘I told my mum and dad I didn’t want to go back around there but I didn’t feel that I could tell them why. I was too scared to tell anybody but I left that Boys’ Brigade to get away from him.’

A second man, who is now in his 40s, claims he was abused in the 1970s.

Police arrested Cawte on July 20, last year, but he answered ‘no comment’ to all their questions.

In a second interview in September last year he again refused to comment and he was later charged with a string of offences.

Cawte, of Maytree Gardens, Waterlooville, denies five multiple incident counts of indecent assault on a male, one of indecency with a child and two other sexual offences.

(Proceeding)

CASE NEARLY FELL APART

THE case against Terence Cawte nearly fell apart because of the way the police handled it.

In 2001 one of the men made a statement to the officers about being abused.

Prosecutor Robert Bryan told the jury an unknown police officer had investigated the case but had not been able to contact Cawte.

The man was passed ‘from pillar to post’ for two years before his statement was lost which led to him withdrawing his support.

Nothing further happened until last year when a second person went to the police to make claims. After that police contacted the first man again.