A ”cruel and predatory” former soldier has been jailed for 18 years for torturing and raping children as young as four.
Sadistic Trevor Ward, 49, sexually abused and ritualistically humiliated his victims aged between four and 13 over an 11-year period.
His sickening catalogue of abuse included force-feeding victims detergent and ordering them to stand in a crucifix position while holding heavy weights.
The lead investigating officer in the case described Ward as the most ”vile paedophile” he had ever come across.
Ward, of Fishponds, Bristol, showed no remorse for his actions and swore at his victims in the public gallery as he was sent down.
Sentencing him to 18 years at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Mark Horton said: ”It’s quite plain that you are a cruel, dangerous and predatory pervert from whom society, and in particular children, need to be protected.
”It would be hard to describe or quantify the quite appalling damage that you have done to these children.
”You have undoubtedly stolen their childhood.”
Ward’s sickening crimes are thought to have been carried out over a nine-year period dating back to 1995.
He made his victims stand with arms outstretched in the crucifix position whilst holding heavy weights, Bristol Crown Court heard.
The horrifying abuse only came to light after one of his victims made a complaint against him years later.
Ward became abusive when he was initially investigated and denied all knowledge of the crimes, branding the lead officer in the case a ”liar and scumbag”.
But he eventually admitted the crimes and on Tuesday was jailed for 18 years after pleading guilty to three rapes, indecent assault and five charges of sexual activity with a child.
Ward was ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for life and was banned from working with children for life.
He asked to address the court after being sentenced but his request was turned down and, as he was led away, turned to the packed public gallery and swore.
Ward’s victims did not wish to speak after the hearing.
Detective Constable Richard Barnston, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: ”In 23 years of being a detective I’ve never met such a vile paedophile as him.
”He asked for no mitigation on his behalf in court and I’m pleased he pleaded guilty to all the offences.
”The victims are all damaged and that can’t be measured.”
Avon and Somerset Police refused to release a picture of Ward because of the ”negative impact” it may have on the victims.