An ”evil, predatory and degenerate paedophile” was today jailed for 18 years for his involvement in a ”despicable” gang that abused up to 30 girls – some as young as five.
Sick James Machin, 54, is the last member of the paedophile ring to be caged after he and three monsters carried out disgusting assaults on dozens of vulnerable children.
The harrowing abuse was carried out over a three year period as the predators took young girls to a woodland beauty spot to be repeatedly raped.
The men, who communicated by scrawling on toilet walls across Cornwall, took advantage of the youngsters by plying them with booze and drugs.
Police fear the gang may have abused considerably more than the 30 victims identified so far, but many are too scared to come forward.
The evil catalogue of depravity only emerged on Friday after restrictions were lifted when Machin, the final member of the gang, was convicted of child rape.
Three other men are already facing lengthy jail terms for the systematic sexual abuse of young girls, some of which were forced to take drugs and drink alcohol.
Yesterday, kitchen fitter Machin, of Camborne, Cornwall, was jailed for 18 years at Truro Crown Court.
Sentencing, Judge Christopher Elwen said: ”You are a an evil, predatory and degenerate paedophile who inflicted serious physical and psychological abuse on two children.
”What chance they will have to rid themselves of the serious trauma cannot be known. But their chance to lead physically and psychologically fulfilled lives is remote.
”You forced them to come to court and forced them to relive it. There are only aggravating features in this case.”
Judge Elwen sentenced Machin to 18 years for three counts of child rape, 10 years for one count of conspiracy to commit sexual assault and 12 months for six counts of possessing indecent images, to run concurrently.
He added: ”This offending was particularly planned. You also attempted to dispose of evidence from your van.
”I did not consider your fellow conspirators as dangerous, having only now discovered the depths of depravity to which they sank.”
The abuse of young girls stems back to 2005, when ringleader and married dad-of-two Barrett started grooming and abusing girls aged seven and five.
He allowed two unidentified paedophiles to abuse two young girls at a beach and in the back of his van, charging them £5 each.
Barrett later agreed to turn Queen’s witness following his conviction and fingered Machin as the last link in the vile ring.
Machin desperately tried to cover his tracks by steam-cleaning the inside of his black Mercedes van and trying to erase the hard drives of two laptops which contained child pornography.
Operation Lakeland was launched in December 2007 by Devon and Cornwall police after a young girl told her mum Barrett had abused her, and a subsequent guilty plea opened a floodgate of other victims.
Officers discovered the he had been communicating with other offenders through a series of unsophisticated coded messages on toilet walls and mobile phone numbers were found on his handset.
Much of the abuse took place at Longrock, near Penzance, – a notorious spot for doggers.
Other girls were raped in the back of vans or in grotty sea-front toilet blocks.
In a bizarre twist, it emerged that one of the sites was a house belonging to a crown court judge who, completely unaware of Machin’s paedophile tendencies, hired him as a handyman.
Machin was given a key to the property and took Barrett to the cottage – which belonged to Judge John Denniss and his brother – to rape two young girls.
The owners knew nothing of the abuse which was taking place.
Machin appeared in court yesterday wearing a neck brace – the result of fight between himself and John Barrett, during which he was thrown down a flight of stairs.
Detective Constable Martin Skinner revealed Machin had suffered an injury on a prison wing which he shared with monster Barrett, who implicated him to the police.
He said: ”It has been reported from the prison that he was involved in an incident resulting in him falling down the stairs.
”The circumstance of this are unknown, but he does share a wing with his co-defendant John Barrett.”
The court heard Machin has a previous conviction for assaulting a 12-year-old girl in 1988 when he was 32.
He was also had a sex offender’s prevention order put upon him, to prevent him accessing child pornography.
Ringleader John Barrett, 49, of Camborne, was given 14 and a half years in December 2008 for abusing two girls aged five and seven.
John Wrey, 55, of Hayle got five and half years for rape in April 2008, and earlier this month Alan Wills, 46, Camborne, was given 16 years for 24 offences – including the rape of seven young girls.
When arrested Wrey told police: ”I’ve been waiting for you. I raped both girls twice. Barrett bought them to my house.”
Wills’ home was twice targeted by vigilantes after his arrest, as his house was burgled and shed set alight, forcing him to flee to Spain, before he eventually returned to face police after desperate pleas from his family.
It is thought Wills has since launched an appeal against his conviction.
Speaking after Friday’s court hearing Det Insp Simon Snell, of Devon and Cornwall police said: ”These are major players in the child sex offending field.
”They are despicable, horrible, nasty individuals who preyed on vulnerable young children.
”My heart goes out to those children. I don’t think they will ever get over this absolutely appalling abuse by the men involved.”
A mother of one of the gangs victims said after Friday’s ‘s court hearing she felt ”extremely angry”, but also guilty, adding: ”I didn’t look after her, although I tried.
”I did feel guilty because a parent’s job is to look after her children. She said her daughter needed continued counselling.
”She’s trying so hard to get on the straight and narrow, to do the right thing, but because her head is so messed up she doesn’t know what to do.
”She’s just completely all over the place.”