Reginald Davies denies child rape from 1949-73
A former serviceman and miner subjected four girls to an "entrenched pattern of sustained sexual abuse" which began more than 60 years ago, a court heard.
Reginald Davies, 78, denies 16 offences against children as young as eight in south Wales.
Most of the charges, which include rape, relate to the 1950s although the attacks allegedly continued until 1973.
Kingston Crown Court heard how Mr Davies was extradited from Australia to face trial. The case continues.
With the earliest allegation dating back more than 62 years to 1949, it is thought to be one of the oldest historic criminal cases in UK legal history.
The court heard that he would lavish the girls with attention and "test the water" by asking them for a kiss, the defendant would touch their legs and then forced them into sexual acts.
Prosecutors say one of the claimants was just nine when Mr Davies began to rape her, warning her not to talk about "their secret".
Hanna Llewellyn-Waters, prosecuting, said: "The defendant nurtured a fear of disclosing the abuse in the complainants when they were children.
"He made them feel that they would not be believed, that they were to blame and, on occasion, he threatened that they would be removed from their parents if they were to report his abuse of them.
"As the complainants grew up, they tried to block the abuse from their minds in order to try to be able to continue with their lives."
Mr Davies faces four charges of child rape, three charges of attempted rape, eight counts of indecent assault, and one count of indecency with a child.
He was arrested last July at his adopted home of Wanneroo on Australia's west coast.
Wearing a black suit and shirt with a striped black and burgundy tie, Mr Davies stood in the dock on Tuesday with the aid of a walking stick to hear the charges, and listened to proceedings through a hearing loop.
The trial continues.