Former Christ's Hospital teacher jailed for sexually abusing pupils

A former top private school teacher has been jailed for sexually abusing four of his pupils.

Peter Burr was jailed at Hove crown court on Friday after admitting nine counts of indecently assaulting the boys aged between 11 and 14 at Christ’s Hospital between 1969 and 1973.

The judge, Christine Henson, initially sentenced him to 42 months (three-and-a-half-years) behind bars and concluded the hearing.

Moments later, the parties were called back to court.

Henson returned to say she had read out the wrong figure and sentenced him to 48 months (four years) instead. She added that her views on sentencing had not changed.

Burr is the second former teacher from the boarding school in Horsham, West Sussex, to be jailed in as many months.

Henson said he displayed a pattern of preying on his victims in a “gross abuse of trust”.

She added: “You had unlimited access to vulnerable young boys separated from their families. They obtained a place at the school because of the death of a parent or a low income.

“This strengthened their reluctance to speak out about you.”

Burr, 73, of Kingswear, near Dartmouth in Devon, was handed concurrent sentences for each victim and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

Burr would invite pupils to visit his study for tea and cake before fondling them, the court heard.

One victim described how he would entice them with chocolate biscuits, which were seen as a treat.

Ahmed Hossain, for the prosecution, said the house tutor and physics teacher, who was responsible for patrolling bathrooms and dormitories, would also become sexually aroused when he played with them in the swimming pool.

One of the victims tried to report the crimes to officers at Horsham police station in 2000 but felt he was being “batted back” and no further action was taken, Hossain said.

It was not until 3 December 2016 that the victim was prompted to email the producer of Vanessa Feltz’s BBC Radio London programme when she discussed the football abuse scandal.

The producer put him in touch with detectives and an investigation was launched after he made contact with police in February last year.

Burr’s prosecution is part of a wider investigation into allegations of abuse by former teachers at the school.

A former house master Peter Webb, 74, was jailed for four years in December.

Three more men are due in court later this year. Police have said the prosecutions are not linked.

Ajaz Karim, 63, who lives in London, denies nine charges of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against six female pupils. He is due to stand trial in April.

James Husband, 67, of York, is accused of four counts of rape and five counts of indecently assaulting a woman.

Gary Dobbie, 66, of Albi in France, is charged with seven counts of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against two men, as well as three counts of indecently assaulting two women.

Husband and Dobbie deny the charges and are due to stand trial in May.

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