A Dunedin sex offender who abused three boys in the 1970s was given an emphatic send-off by his victims yesterday.
"You're the scum of the Earth and I hope you rot in hell."
It was a sentiment shared by each of the trio, who are now in their 50s.
Alan David Bell, 75, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday, having pleaded guilty to a range of charges including sodomy and indecent assault.
Judge Kevin Phillips said there was no evidence of remorse.
When Bell was interviewed ahead of sentencing, he told probation officers he had no sexual predilections for underage boys.
"The summary you have admitted throws that out the window," the judge said.
The devastating impact on each of the victims was clear, he told the court.
"It's a long time ago but not a long time ago for those victims whose lives stopped when you began to abuse them," Judge Phillips said.
The three - who were between 11 and 14 at the time of the offending - first met Bell when they were playing in a Dunedin park and he shielded them from an awkward situation.
"I thought the blue uniform you were wearing would make us safe - that was our biggest mistake," one victim said.
The defendant then set up his home as a refuge for the boys, even convincing their parents he could be trusted with their care.
Bell also persuaded them he could get the children part-time work.
They could spend the night at his place as it would be easier, he said.
"This is where you had sole control over me. The fear I felt was truly horrific," a victim said.
He told the court in a statement he would lie in bed at Bell's home and desperately hope he would not come in.
But he always did.
"All I could do was shut my eyes and pray it stopped soon," he said.
The court also heard of Bell's grooming.
He would ply the boys with cigarettes and alcohol, which they now realised was simply a form of control.
Occasionally, the victims would wake up and find a dollar note on their pillow.
"You groomed me to make me think I was yours," one victim said.
"Everything was so confusing to me."
Two of the victims dropped out of school because of their harrowing experiences and became loners, anti-authoritarian and angry at the world, Judge Phillips said.
"I wonder what path in life I would've taken if I'd not met you," another victim said.
Bell was originally charged in 2017 while he was in Australia, and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Counsel Andrew Dawson stressed he had not fled there or deliberately evaded prosecution.
The defendant was arrested in 2019 when he returned to New Zealand.
Because he had little support in the country, Judge Phillips accepted it was likely he would serve the entirety of the five-year and two-month sentence without parole.