Men 'sexually abused victims for more than 30 years'

Four men sexually abused eight victims over a period of more than 30 years, a court has heard.

Paul Thomas, Jerry Lee Howe, Paul Flynn and Timothy Pittway are alleged to have committed abuse all over England between 1979 and 2010.

Attacks, on seven girls and a boy until they were 16, took place in Hampshire, Berkshire, London and Lancashire, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The four men deny a total of 47 charges of abuse.

Between them, the men are each alleged to have abused victims separately, at different times and in different locations.

'Threat to kill'

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, told the jury the oldest of the victims was now 40 with the youngest 15.

She said: "The victims were, the Crown say, sexually abused.

"They were children and some of them very young - as young as three."

Miss Maylin told the court that one of the victims was threatened with murder, and some were so used to the abuse they just "did as they were bid".

The attacks were said to have taken place in Basingstoke and Bishops Green in Hampshire, Reading, Brixton and Blackpool, Fleetwood, Lytham St Annes and Darwen in Lancashire, the jury was told.

Mr Thomas, 50, of Western Way, Basingstoke, denies 31 counts of either sexual assault or rape of five girls and sexual assault of a boy.

Eight counts of either sexual assault or rape of four girls, are denied by Mr Flynn, 30, of Bath Road, Reading.

Forty-nine-year-old Mr Pittway, of Mermaid Close, Winnersh, Berkshire, denies one count of rape and one count of indecent assault of a girl.

Mr Howe 40, of Dunnyshop Avenue, Accrington, Lancashire, who is also known as Stephen Ledniczky, denies six counts of either sexual assault or rape of two girls.

The trial is expected to last for 12 weeks.