A POWYS man who conducted a campaign of sexual abuse against children over more than 20 years has been jailed for life.

There was “no limit to the depravity” exhibited by 56-year-old Matthew Aldridge, who was described as a “degenerate” by Judge Niclas Parry at Mold Crown Court last month. Judge Parry set Aldridge’s minimum term at 24 years, but told him he will not automatically be released after his sentence.

Aldridge, of Reeves Lane, Knighton, was convicted after a trial, in September, of all 27 charges against him, including rape, attempted rape, gross indecency, indecent assault and inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity over more than 20 years.

Also appearing in court was Sara Hall, aged 46, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for offences of perverting the course of justice and child cruelty, in part for coercing one of the victims to change her evidence against him.

One of Aldridge’s victims reported his offending in 2016, but Hall coerced her into changing the evidence she gave to police. A further allegation in 2019 resulted in the true extent of Aldridge’s actions coming to light.

Prosecutor Mark Connor said one victim described how the abuse became normalised “to the extent that she didn’t appreciate she was a victim until she reached adulthood and began talking to people about her experiences".


County Times:

Jemma Gordon, acting as co-counsel, read harrowing victim impact statements from the first two victims.

“One said she had been damaged beyond repair and made to feel unlovable,” said Ms Gordon.

“The second victim said that any chance of a normal adult life with a partner and the potential of children is something I cannot contemplate.

“I was told that if I told anyone, people and pets would get hurt.”

The third victim read her statement out in court, describing how the abuse led her to start self-harming.

Oliver King, representing Aldridge, said his client maintains his innocence.

“It’s a position he’s always taken; the author of the pre-sentence report has had no choice but to conclude he is a danger to children,” said Mr King.

“I am limited in my mitigation. He has no previous convictions and there is a character reference from neighbours who describe him as a kind man, always happy to help others.

“His sister and brother paid tribute to how he’s always been a hard-working man who supported his family.

“I concede there was a darker side they did not see. He could die in prison.”

Judge Parry said:  “This can only be described as the conduct of a degenerate and someone who lacks any sense of morality.


“During a campaign of sexual abuse your conduct was systematic and vile and continues to wreak havoc on the lives of your victims.

“It is so important to say that the victims have done nothing wrong, they bear no blame or responsibility; it is yours alone."

He added: “You pursued a trial, which ensured your victims were forced to relive their ordeals. You have no comprehension of the harm you’ve caused and have no remorse whatsoever.

“Your behaviour indicates that there is no limit to your depravity and the sexual aggression you would resort to, to gain sexual gratification.”

Judge Parry imposed a life sentence and told Aldridge he would serve a minimum of 24 years.

“If released you will be on licence for the remainder of your life," he said.

He added that the time Aldridge has spent on remand will not automatically be deducted from his sentence.

Judge Parry imposed indefinite sexual harm prevention and restraining orders.

Speaking for Dyfed-Powys Police, the officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Liz Evans, said: “I would like to commend the strength and determination of the three victims in this case, and thank them for the support and cooperation they have shown our officers.

“As a result of the sustained length of time over which this appalling offending happened, and the amount of evidence to be considered, this was a lengthy and intense investigation involving a number of police teams. All three victims showed immense bravery throughout the course of our enquiries, which we appreciate has not been easy for them.

“The offenders have shown neither remorse for their despicable actions, nor any empathy towards the victims, adding to the distress and trauma they have already inflicted on these young women. We hope today’s outcome will go some way to reassuring that their bravery in speaking out was not in vain."