Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Ex-headteacher sentenced for abuse

Former boarding school head Derek Slade is to be sentenced for abusing boy pupils

A former boarding school head is due to be sentenced after being convicted of abusing boy pupils during the 1970s and 1980s.

Derek Slade, 61, of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, was convicted of more than 50 offences.

A jury at Ipswich Crown Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting and beating 12 boys aged between eight and 13 between 1978 and 1983.

Jurors heard that Slade ran St George's private school, which was initially based in Wicklewood, Norfolk, then moved to Great Finborough, Suffolk, in 1980. Prosecutors said Slade hit boys with a slipper, a table tennis bat and his bare hand then ordered youngsters to write about "whackings I have had".

Slade was arrested after former pupils complained two years ago. One victim said he had never told his parents what had happened, while another described Slade's assaults as "reigns of terror".

He had admitted assault, indecent assault and child pornography offences. He denied other allegations of assault and indecent assault but was found guilty after a month-long trial.

Slade admitted being a paedophile and told jurors that there was a sexual motive behind the corporal punishment he inflicted. But he denied more serious sexual assaults, including prosecution allegations that he hosted "midnight feasts" where boys would be abused.

The court heard that Oxford-educated Slade, who has no teaching qualifications, set up the school with colleagues.

St George's had been in the spotlight in 1982 when a BBC radio programme reported on its harsh regime, the court heard.

Detective chief inspector Adrian Randall said around a dozen officers had worked on the inquiry for about 18 months - although he said he could not put a figure on the cost. He said: "Whilst Slade may have committed these offences 30 years ago, for the victims their pain remains very real. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for these men to come forward and try to make sense of what happened to them decades ago as defenceless young boys."

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