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89-year-old jailed for child abuse

Published 22/05/2015

Leicester Crown Court heard that former teacher Peter Farrands abused two pupils
Leicester Crown Court heard that former teacher Peter Farrands abused two pupils

An 89-year-old former teacher and Scout leader has been jailed for seven years for "awful" abuse of two of his pupils.

Peter Farrands, also a former church minister, told one of his victims the young boy was his "special lad" as he abused him in a classroom at the Folville Junior School in Leicester during the 1980s.

His other young victim was abused as he stood at the front of the class and read a book, but Farrands was careful to ensure the other pupils could not see his assault.

Sentencing a frail-looking Farrands, Judge Hammond said that the attacks were "awful, awful offences" on vulnerable youngsters which had left the victims "tormented" into adulthood.

The judge was "moved" by the witness testimony of one of the men for whom the effect of abuse "has been frankly devastating", he added.

The other youngster was Robert Gibb, who said after sentencing today at Leicester Crown Court: "There's no forgiveness."

The 49-year-old, who has waived his right to anonymity, said: "If he had been a younger man, he'd have got longer.

"He did wrong to me and I think the sentence is adequate."

Farrands was convicted last month by a jury of five counts of indecent assault against both his victims during the 1970s and 1980s.

Some of the abuse happened at school, but also while both boys were out on organised trips along the canal accompanied by the then Scout master.

Mr Gibb was aged 10 or 11 when a three-year period of abuse started in 1976 while he was a pupil at the school in the Braunstone area of the city.

During that time, Farrands rubbed his genitals over Mr Gibb's clothing while in class, and then again on a Scout trip.

On one occasion during an assault he told Mr Gibb: "Let's get this little soldier to stand up", out of hearing of the other pupils.

Judge Hammond recounted another incident where Mr Gibb was drying himself with a towel on a scouting excursion and Farrands touched him.

"Robert broke free and said if he didn't stop touching him he'd tell his mother. He was 13," said the judge.

"After the incident, Robert told his parents and his parents contacted the school and met the headmaster, who was very dismissive and said Robert was lying.

"Nevertheless the defendant, headmaster and Scout commissioner visited the family when the defendant begged them to take the matter no further, saying his wife would leave him. Robert's parents agreed."

However, Farrands went on with his offending, abusing his second victim while the rest of the class were watching an educational TV programme and the lights were off.

In a victim impact statement read to court, that man said the abuse by the "terrifying teacher" Farrands had "blighted his entire life", according to prosecuting counsel Phil Gibbs.

"The abuse changed me from a happy kid to someone who became drawn and distant," said Farrands' victim.

"I loved my mother but my relationship with her was doomed after abuse began."

The prosecutor said it was only when driven to suicidal tendencies that the victim acted by making a complaint to police in 2010.

Turning to the missed opportunity to tackle Farrands' abuse back in the 1970s, the former pupil added: "He was found out years ago but left to teach children and to abuse me.

"I feel angry about this and angry he's lived his life free of any guilt. I've served his sentence for the last 35 years."

Outside court, the man, who had sat through sentencing to watch Farrands jailed, said: "I'll never forgive him.

"If Robert Gibb had been taken seriously in the first place, this would never have happened to me."

In Farrands' mitigation, barrister Steven Newcombe asked the judge for a suspended jail term, citing his frail and hard-of-hearing client's age and the passage of time since the offences.

The court also heard the pensioner, of Evesham Road, Leicester, suffered with ailments including syphilis.

Judge Hammond praised both Farrands' victims, telling them: "Both showed great courage and dignity in giving evidence, and I very much hope they can both move on.

"Of course, they have now both been believed. In many ways no sentence can reflect what has happened to children who've been sexually abused."

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