A PAEDOPHILE who 'ruined lives' has been jailed for 19 years for carrying out a campaign of sexual abuse and attempted rape against children in Newton Abbot and Cornwall.
Matthew Rawe, (pictured right) known as Clem, would tell his victims the abuse was 'our little secret' in order to ensure their silence.
Rawe appeared visibly shocked as his past caught up with him in the dock at Exeter Crown Court and he was handed the punishment for his vile crimes. The judge condemned the 55-year-old domestic appliance engineer for the 'wake of destruction' he had left behind.
A jury found Rawe, of Back Lane, Chudleigh Knighton, guilty earlier this year. He pleaded not guilty to 20 counts of serious sexual offences against children as young as six in Newton Abbot and Cornwall.
The jury at the 10-day trial convicted him of 13 counts of indecent assault and seven of attempted rape. He maintains he is innocent of the crimes.
At his sentencing hearing Judge Philip Wassall said his lack of empathy with his victims and his continued denials made him all the more dangerous to the public.
Judge Wassell said: "You were convicted on completely cogent and overwhelming evidence and you still possess no victim empathy."
He said Rawe had 'deflected blame' and tried to play the victim himself. "I can find absolutely no credit to you in the way you've dealt with this," he added.
After the court case police praised the victims' bravery and said the sentence proved they were justified in coming forward.
The charges related to the abuse of four young girls between 1981 and 1998.
The court was told Rawe would show a sexual interest in his victims before continuing the abuse for years.
The first sign that Rawe was a danger to children came in 1985 when he was convicted of indecently assaulting two other young girls.
He served two years in jail, but continued to offend when released.
Judge Wassell said it was disturbing that Rawe had completed a sexual offenders rehabilitation course, but that had not stopped him offending again.
He said: "After this course you went on to commit other offences. That is of real concern.
"You pose a real and continuing risk even at the age you are of committing sexual offences against young children."
Defending, Rupert Taylor, said Rawe 'does not accept for a moment the convictions'.
He said the former Royal Navy man had been an 'industrious and skilled man' in his working life, but he now viewed himself as the victim.
After the sentence DC Ian Lavercombe said: "I would like to say in regards to victims of sexual abuse they need to know that if they come to the police — even a long time after the event — we will take them seriously and treat them with care when investigating the allegations.
"We are pleased with the result. It's a long jail term and we think that shows the current and ongoing danger of Mr Rawe, who is capable of ruining lives."