Friends say accused leader is ‘lovely man’

TRIAL Terence Cawte
TRIAL Terence Cawte

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FRIENDS and family of a Boys’ Brigade leader accused of abusing children have come to his defence.

While some admitted they knew very little of the allegations against Terence Cawte, they described him as a lovely man about whom they had no concerns.

The 74-year-old is accused of abusing two boys at his home in Waterlooville and at his former bookshop, The Portsmouth Christian Book Centre, in New Road, North End, between the 1970s and 1990s.

Vivienne Costell, who helped out with the Leigh Park Boys’ Brigade when Cawte was the captain, said: ‘I always felt that he was just a kind gentleman.

‘He had all their interests at heart. He was just a nice person.’

Asked what she knew about the allegations she said ‘very little’.

The eldest of Cawte’s three children, Mark Cawte, 42, said he had never seen anything to give him any concern about his father.

Barbara McMeekin, a former teacher at Purbrook Infant School, where Cawte’s wife Maureen worked, said she went to Cawte for massages when she had a bad back.

She told the jury at Portsmouth Crown Court: ‘I found him a lovely man.’

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.