Published: 08:32, 24 December 2019
| Updated: 11:07, 24 December 2019
"Evil and manipulative" paedophile Terrence Matthews is expected to die in prison within weeks.
The 86-year-old Chatham pervert was too ill with cancer and a serious lung problem to appear even by TV link from his cell in Dartmoor Prison at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday.
A prison officer told the judge that colleagues were surprised to find the former Sea Cadet leader still alive yesterday morning.
His four victims had feared that Matthews would cheat justice and die before he could be sentenced for 14 sex crimes against the former sea cadets dating back 40 years.
Matthews is already serving a six-and-a-half year jail term for similar vile offences.
And Maidstone Crown Court heard that when one of the "brave" victims, from Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Gravesend, complained to police about being groomed he was told it was not in the public interest to bring charges.
Judge Philip Statman said: "That was a grave error of judgment. These were four brave men who had lost their childhood dreams.
"They were ill-served by adult organisations who should have accepted their complaints that they were groomed by a man described as having a very strong personality."
All four victims sat in the public gallery to hear jail sentences totalling 44 years being passed for the 14 offences.
The judge ruled that all of the sentences should run concurrently with a seven-and-a-half year jail term, but that will now be added to his current sentence.
One victim – described by the judge as a "true survivor" – is a former serviceman who had served in a number of war zones including Afghanistan.
But he told the judge that they were nothing compared to the nightmare dished out by the predatory paedophile over a number of years.
All of the victims had suffered nightmares, wrecked marriages and problems at school because of what Matthews put them through on a regular basis.
One of them said Matthews was "evil and manipulative and groomed some of them by calling them his "special boys" but then took advantage of their relationship.
Matthews had previous convictions for child sex dating back to 1985 when he was with the St John's Ambulance Service.
Two years later he moved to Gloucester and assaulted two more children and in 1995 was convicted in Aberdeen for sex offences, including having 2000 sex photos of children.
In 2005, he had moved to Gloucester where he attacked two children and received a sentence of 51 months.
But all the while he had kept secret his degrading acts in the Sea Cadets in which one of the victims recalled smelling his "whisky breath" and feeling his "rough beard" during the attacks.
By 2017, and now living at Heavitree Road, Exeter, he received a 78-month sentence for sex attacks.
It was only when one of his victims, who had his account initially rejected, read about the sentencing and made a further complaint that police were able to find three more victims and brought fresh charges.
As Matthews' lawyer said he would inform his client of the latest sentence, the judge said doctors believed he had only a few weeks to live.
"This man has a very short life expectancy."
Then he told the victims: "As far as I am concerned you are very brave men. You are, in the truest sense, survivors and now you know that you have been believed."
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “This case demonstrates the devastating impact that child sexual abuse can have on survivors throughout their adult lives. We hope the victims of this horrific abuse now get all the support they need to help them move forward.
“Childline is there for young people 24/7 on 0800 1111. Adults concerned about the wellbeing of a child can phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000.”