Matthew Rawe jailed for child abuse

Matthew Rawe Pic: Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Rawe views himself as a victim, the court heard

A former member of the Royal Navy has been jailed for 19 years for a string of sexual offences against girls.

Matthew Rawe's victims were below the age of consent during his two-decade period of offending.

Rawe, 55, was convicted of 13 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of attempted rape by a jury at Exeter Crown Court in June.

Sentencing him, Judge Phillip Wassall told Rawe that he "posed a real and continuing risk".

The court was told Rawe's offences began in the early 1980s while he was living in the Padstow area.

'Absolutely no winners'

He moved to Newton Abbot in Devon in the early 1990s where he abused a girl after befriending her at a care home.

Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Rawe would tell his victims it was "our little secret" in an effort to keep the police from finding out about his abuse.

Rupert Taylor, defending, said Rawe still maintained his innocence.

He said: "There's a sadness in these sorts of cases. Whatever happens, there are absolutely no winners."

Mr Taylor said a pre-sentence report into Rawe, of Orchard Close in Chudleigh Knighton, Newton Abbot, found the former domestic appliance engineer "viewed himself as a victim".

The judge said he gave Rawe "absolutely no credit" due to his denials, and said the impact of his offending on the victims and their family members had been huge.

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