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13 years for paedophile ex-teacher

The half-brother of a senior Conservative MP has been jailed for 13 years for carrying out hundreds of sexual assaults on young boys.

Former teacher Charles Napier, 67, who is related to Maldon MP John Whittingdale, conducted a "campaign of abuse" at the school where he worked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, grooming and assaulting 21 victims aged as young as eight on scores of occasions.

Last month he pleaded guilty to 28 counts of indecent assault - including many covering "multiple incidents" - and one indecency charge in relation to those crimes.

Today he admitted a further two separate historic allegations of indecent assault against two 13-year-old boys after he left the school, the first in 1979 and the second in 1983.

Napier stared straight ahead and betrayed no emotion as Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith sentenced him at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Napier joined the school, which cannot be named, after leaving university and when he was arrested last year he told police he already knew he was a paedophile at that time.

The judge said: "I have no doubt that ... you sought that post because of the proximity you would have to boys.

"Within a very short time you were grooming those you had chosen, using the techniques of charm, flattery and the abuse of your power.

"The number of indecent assaults must be into the hundreds."

The judge said some of the victims' lives had been "dramatically damaged".

He added: "These offences...were committed by someone who had a special duty of care and who gravely abused that duty by grooming them for his own purposes."

The court heard Napier's offending at the school was "prolific", with him targeting 21 different pupils aged between eight and 13 over a period of around two-and-a-half years.

He was said to have earned the nickname "rapier Napier" at school.

Peter Clement, prosecuting, said: "The offences are characterised by a campaign of sexual abuse involving significant planning, grooming and abuse of many pupils.

"It was sexual abuse of particularly vulnerable victims. The defendant ensured each child's compliance and silence through grooming to the extent that he abused several of the victims many, many times.

"The defendant abused the high degree of trust placed in him by his colleagues, the children's parents and the children themselves and exploited his role for his own sexual gratification."

The court heard Napier would give his victims treats including fizzy drinks and chocolate, often abusing them in a carpentry workshop, which, Mr Clement said, "became something of his den".

One victim was told by Napier "don't be a baby" while another suffered "profound effects" from being repeatedly abused and attempted suicide later in life, the court heard.

Some pupils were targeted as often as once a week, with one boy said to have been abused up to 100 times.

Napier abused some victims in the presence of other children, the court heard.

On two occasions he made a boy perform a sex act on him, telling the child: "That's what grown-ups do."

If those two offences occurred today Napier would have been charged with rape, the court heard.

It was revealed today that Napier, of Sherborne, Dorset, has twice previously been convicted of abuse against boys.

One boy made a complaint that resulted in Napier pleading guilty to indecent assaults on a total of five pupils who are not involved in this case, in 1972.

He was sentenced to a three year probation order. In another separate case he was jailed for nine months in 1995 after he was convicted of assaulting two children.

The two victims in the further charges Napier admitted today, which did not take place at the school, contacted police after reading news coverage about their abuser's arrest earlier this year.

Napier told police he underwent electric shock treatment but it had no impact on his attraction to children.

The court heard that after he was dismissed from the school he went on to join the Paedophile Information Exchange as treasurer.

He said when interviewed that he felt "ghastly" and "desperately sorry", telling officers: "I was a very young man, I was completely out of control and completely out of order, putting it about everywhere."

Benjamin Hargreaves, for Napier, said in mitigation that the defendant is "genuinely remorseful" and "realises how appalling his actions were". He added: "He knows that he is responsible for a most serious and grave period (of offending) but he is no threat now."

Peter Watt, of the NSPCC, said: "Napier has a shadowy past and used positions of trust to carry out a string of appalling sexual assaults on children.

"Hiding behind a veneer of respectability, Napier was a man who was a former senior member of a prominent paedophile group."

Napier was arrested last year under Operation Cayacos, a strand of a wider investigation called Operation Fairbank which was launched following claims by MP Tom Watson.

Napier is the first person convicted under Fairbank, Scotland Yard said.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Keith Braithwaite said: "Napier is an arrogant, controlling and manipulative individual who has shown no remorse for the serious sexual offences he committed against young and vulnerable victims.

"He has offended throughout most of his adult life; exploiting opportunities to continue his criminality against children through his employment and standing within society.

"I'd like to thank those who found the courage after all these years to come forward and provide evidence against this man, especially those who were subject to his serious sexual assaults.

"I hope today's sentence demonstrates how seriously the courts view such offending and brings a degree of closure to the individuals who had their childhoods destroyed by the selfish actions of Napier.

"I would like to assure all who have suffered in a similar manner that they will be treated by the MPS with compassion and professionalism and offenders will be brought to justice."

The notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) was set up in the 1970s and campaigned to lower the age of consent.

It has been at the centre of controversy over alleged links to the National Council of Civil Liberties(NCCL) - an organisation that leading figures in the Labour Party once worked for.

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