A lorry driver who sexually abused young girls and boys for more than a quarter of a century has been jailed for 23 years.
John Jeffrey Mawson began abusing children when he was 13 or 14, and continued doing so into his forties, Durham Crown Court heard.
Several of his victims described his sexual assaults on them as ‘frenzied’.
Mawson punched one young girl as he raped her, and told her later: “If you tell, I will come and kill you when you are asleep.
“No one will believe you, you will end up in a home.”
Another victim was slapped by Mawson, who later tried to buy her silence with £10.
One of his female victims was lured under the pretext of looking at baby rabbits, the court heard.
A male victim was lured by the promise of a tin of beer.
Mawson was arrested when one of his victims went to the police in 2014.
Mawson, 55, of Park Tower, Park Road, Hartlepool, denied two offences of rape, one offence of attempted rape, 14 offences of indecent assault, and five offences of indecency with a child.
He was convicted of all offences after a trial lasting two weeks.
David Lamb, defending, said: “Mr Mawson still denies all the offences, so there is little I can say about them in mitigation.
“The first offence is now some 40 years ago, and he has not offended since 2001.
“While he could not complain about consecutive sentences, I would ask for the principle of totality of sentence to be borne in mind.”
Judge Simon Hickey jailed Mawson for 23 years.
The judge told him: “This was a catalogue of sexual offending against young girls and boys spanning a quarter of a century.
“These were grave and heinous offences which, understandably, devastated the lives of the victims.
“Their suffering was increased by your denials, forcing each and every one to relive their ordeal during the trial.
“In my judgment you still present a risk to children, if presented with the opportunity to offend again.
“That is not a fanciful supposition, it is a fact.”
Mawson was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, banning him indefinitely from unsupervised contact with children.
He must register as a sex offender for life.
The judge told Mawson he will be the subject of an extended licence ‘when you are eventually released, if ever’.