‘On the outside he was caring but what he did was disgusting’

Terence Cawte at Portsmouth Crowm Court
Terence Cawte at Portsmouth Crowm Court

In the Courts– latest update

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ONE of the victims of a perverted Boys’ Brigade leader today told how his life had been ruined by sex abuse inflicted on him when he was a boy.

The man, now in his 30s, spoke out as Terence Cawte was convicted of abuse of two boys dating back to the 1970s.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘It’s just a massive relief that it’s all over. It’s been a long time, 20-odd years. It was tough to go through it all again with the trial but I had nothing to hide.

‘I still feel angry and upset because of what he did. On the outside he was caring and loving but what he did was totally disgusting. He groomed us.’

Cawte, a married father-of-three, was captain of the Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade between the 1970s and 1990s and attended Leigh Park Methodist Church, where he was well known for his charity work.

He abused the two youngsters at his home in Waterlooville and at his former bookshop, The Portsmouth Christian Book Centre, in New Road, North End.

His victim said: ‘The big problem I had was worrying people wouldn’t believe me.

‘I’m hoping if there’s anyone else who he abused they will come forward now.’

He added: ‘I can move on now. I can turn round to those who supported him and say “I was telling the truth”.

‘I’d like to thank my family who have been a massive support, the witness service and the police who were marvellous.

‘When I first opened up and told my parents they were really supportive and that helped a lot.’

A second man, who is now in his 40s, was aged 13 to 15 when he was abused in the 1970s.

Cawte, who also worked for the National Children’s Home charity, was found guilty of systematically abusing the pair after an eight-day trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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.

The 74-year-old, of Maytree Gardens, Waterlooville, put his hand to his mouth and shook his head as the jury left the court.

Judge Ian Pearson released him on bail to be sentenced next month, telling Cawte: ‘I have to make it absolutely clear that a custodial sentence is inevitable.’

After the trial Detective Constable Deborah Alexander, who led the investigation, said: ‘I would like to thank the victims for their courage in coming forward and I hope that now, following the verdicts, this will help them move on with their lives.

‘They have had to live with this for many years and this case shows that Hampshire Constabulary are committed to thoroughly investigating all reports of historical offences.’

Cawte, who claimed both victims made up the allegations, declined to comment after the verdicts.