FOUR men, including one from Accrington, were responsible for the sexual abuse of eight child victims over a period of more than 30 years, a court has heard.
Paul Thomas, Jerry Lee Howe, Paul Flynn and Timothy Pittway are alleged to have committed abuse all over England after it started in 1979 with Thomas, who was the oldest and the initial attacker.
Winchester Crown Court heard the oldest of the eight victims — seven girls and one boy — was now 40 and the youngest 15 and the abuse only stopped in 2010.
Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said: "The victims were, the Crown say, sexually abused. They were children and some of them very young — as young as three."
The barrister said the abuse only stopped when the alleged victims got to 16 and one of the victims was threatened with being killed.
The attacks were said to have taken place in Basingstoke and Bishops Green in Hampshire, Reading, Berkshire, Brixton in London and Blackpool, Fleetwood, Lytham St Annes and Darwen in Lancashire.
The four face 47 charges in total with each alleged to have abused different victims separately at different times and in different locations over the years.
Thomas, 50, of Western Way, Basingstoke, denies 31 counts of either sexual assault and rape of five girls and sexual assault of a boy. Flynn, 30, of Bath Road, Reading, denies eight counts of either sexual assault and rape of four girls.
Pittway, 49, of Mermaid Close, Winnersh, Berkshire, denies one count of rape and one count of indecent assault of a girl.
Howe 40, of Dunnyshop Avenue, Accrington, Lancashire, who is also known as Stephen Ledniczky, denies six counts of either sexual assault and rape of two girls.
The trial is expected to last 12 weeks.