David Lamb, 47, of Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, was “persistently cruel” to his victims in Accrington during the 1990s and caused them “physical, emotional and psychological” damage, Preston Crown Court heard.
The court heard how Lamb frequently hanged the boys from doors with their clothes and on one occasion locked them in a dark cupboard before playing music from War of the Worlds very loudly to “scare them”.
He also used lizards to bite their fingers, put a gas mask on one of the victims so he was in a panic and couldn’t breathe and also tied him to a dog lead before making the dog run and drag him along the floor.
A victim impact statement read out at court from one of the victims said it left him feeling “very lonely, worthless and depressed”.
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Lamb was found guilty after a trial to three counts of child cruelty and was jailed for five years.
Julian Taylor, prosecuting, told the court how he failed to attend his trial in March this year and was found guilty in his absence by a jury.
He told the court that Lamb couldn’t be traced “despite strenuous efforts” and was found after the trial “hiding under a bed” at a house in Bolton.
Jonathan Duffy, defending, said Lamb “denied and continues to deny the conduct against him” and said it is “either exaggeration or fabrication”.
Mr Duffy said Lamb was “nasty and uncaring” but did nothing to “give rise to criminal liability”.
He told the court that this was “bullying behaviour over a period of time” but none of the violence or assaults resulted in “actual bodily harm” injuries.
He said: “He accepts he knew or should have known to come and attend the trial.
“He thought it was due to be in May.”
Judge Simon Baker said Lamb was a “domineering and manipulative man” and was “persistently cruel”.
Sentencing, he said: “You physically assaulted each child on many occasions over a number of years. There were quite remarkable allegations made by both of the boys that they were hung up by their clothing and at times they struggled to breathe and couldn’t get down.”
Judge Baker said Lamb found the ill-treatment of the boys “quite amusing” and “took pleasure in terrifying” all three victims.
He also condemned Lamb for being “wilfully absent” from the trial and “prolonging the agony and distress of the witnesses”.
Speaking after the case one of the victims said Lamb’s jail sentence was “not long enough”.
The mother of one of the other victims added: “He is a monster.”