October 2011

Paedophile jailed for ten years

A FORMER soldier and holiday camp worker who befriended families so he could abuse their sons has been jailed for ten years.

Thomas Devine (62) used threats to silence his victims who have suffered 20 years of nightmares and flashbacks as a result of his attacks.

One of his victims, who suffered five years of abuse while growing up in the Harborough area, wept with relief as a jury at Exeter Crown Court found Devine guilty on Friday of a series of serious sex assaults.

Afterwards, he said: “I don’t have words to describe how I feel. I feel as if the weight of 20 years has been lifted off me. I hope he rots in hell.

“I hope this is going to make it easier now that I know he has got everything he deserves. The sense of relief is unbelievable.”

Devine was a former soldier who befriended two different families during the 1980s and 1990s and abused their sons when they were aged 11 to 16, escalating the attacks until they amounted to male rape.

He used trips to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford and to Blackpool pleasure beach as opportunities to carry out sickening attacks on the boy.

Devine was living in Lancashire at the time of the first offences against one boy. He then moved to Leicestershire, befriended a second family and abused their son.

Devine retired to North Devon ten years ago after suffering a heart attack. He lived in Barnstaple and Bideford before moving to a care home at Atlantic Way, Westward Ho, where he was staying during the trial.

He admitted six indecent assaults and was found guilty of four more. He denied six serious sexual assaults and was found guilty of four. He was cleared of five indecent assaults against a third boy.

He was jailed for ten years by Recorder Mr Andrew Langdon who said: “You denied the most serious offences in a cynical attempt to avoid the consequences of what you knew to be true.

“These are serious offences because your conduct blighted the lives of two boys and has done for 20 to 25 years. They have been robbed of normality.

“The youngest boy is a respectable man from a respectable family who has suffered very greatly and continues to do so from depression, sleep deprivation, nightmares and flashbacks.

“It was perfectly evident from the demeanour of the other victim he has also suffered a great deal. They are both bewildered and sickened by what you did to them.

“For seven years you systematically abused these two boys who had been committed to your trust by their parents with the offences escalating to what is now known as male rape.

“You were calculating and controlling in your sick desire to satisfy your own perversion and you kept on in a way that was savage, unfeeling and remorseless.”

The victims told how they were abused after Devine befriended their families. Devine met the second family after he moved to Brixworth and then Harborough, while working at the Asda depot in Lutterworth, before moving to Rothwell where he worked as a coach driver.

Devine, who is a grandfather, told the jury he had only touched the first boy once, never abused the second, but had up to 15 sexual encounters with the third boy.

He said all three boys had lied about either the existence or extent of the abuse. He added: “I still think of myself as heterosexual. I don’t have a sexual interest in boys or men. I don’t know why this happened.”