6 Feb 2014

Caldicott former headteacher jailed for years of abuse

Former headteacher at Caldicott Boys’ Preparatory School Roland Peter Wright is sentenced to eight years in prison for abusing boys.

Roland Peter White, 83, a former headteacher at the Caldicott prep school, attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, abused five pupils between the age of eight and 13.

The assaults took place between 1959 and 1970.

Sentencing went ahead Amersham Crown Court despite the death of another former teacher who was due to be sentenced alongside White.

Hugh Henry, 82, apparently threw himself under a train on Tuesday.

Judge Joanna Cutts QC told Wright: “These offences were so serious that it is beyond question that only a custodial sentence can be justified.

“I have to sentence you for multiple offending against each of these victims.

“This was prolonged activity, the boys were groomed by a master at a school responsible for their care.”

Judge Cutts also closed the file on Mr Henry who had pleaded guilty to 11 counts of indecency with or towards a child, and two counts of gross indecency with a child.

Another former teacher at the school, John Addrison, 54, from Slough in Berkshire, pleaded guilty to offences of indecent assault and indecency with a child and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Aylesbury Crown Court in November 2012.

No closure

Speaking earlier in the week, former pupil Tom Perry told Channel 4 News that the abuse was like a “seeping wound” and he would never get closure.

In his opinion, said Mr Perry, abuse of a child broke the bond between a child and his or her parents, because of the sense of complicity that the child often feels in the abuse, which meant they often felt they could not speak out.

See the interview in full Caldicott abuse victim: I haven't got justice - video

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Perry said:

“I think it sends a very strong message to those people who are abusers of children, that you can get to the age of 83 and get eight years. I’m pleased with the sentence only for that reason.”

Mr Perry is now campaigning for mandatory reporting to be introduced to oblige any teacher suspecting sexual abuse of a child in their school to raise the alarm. Mr Perry said mandatory reporting was particularly necessary in the independent sector because: “fee-receiving institutions are presented with a conflict of interest over reporting, because it is discretionary.”

Without the perseverance of these past pupils, Peter Wright and other members of staff may never have been brought to justice
Caldicott statement

Nick Clegg, who was joint head boy at Caldicott in 1980, has spoken of his horror after Wright’s conviction in December for 10 counts of indecent assault on a male and two of indecency with a child.

He told The Times he was “shocked and appalled by the gross betrayal and violation of childhood innocence shown to have taken place”.

“These reports will disturb everyone, but most especially those, like myself, who were pupils at the school and were entirely unaware that such abuse was taking place.

“I can only imagine the devastating impact that such abuse must have had on the young boys who were affected. My heart goes out to them.”

A statement from the school today expressed their abhorrence that “adults in a position of trust and responsibility at the school abused children in their care during the 1960s and 1970s.”

“We apologise fully both to those who gave evidence of their abuse and to any others who might have been reluctant to come forward.”

“Without the perseverance of these past pupils, Peter Wright and other members of staff may never have been brought to justice.”

“Thirty years on, Caldicott is now a very different school. We put the safety and welfare of our pupils at the heart of everything we do.”