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Former boarding school teacher sexually abused boys

By Flora Thompson

An ex-teacher at a top private school has been given a longer prison sentence 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.

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.

Judge 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.

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

"You had unlimited access to vulnerable young boys separated from their families," she added.

"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."

The 73-year-old, 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, prosecuting, said that 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 said Burr became "hostile" towards him after he walked into his study and found him with a boy on his knee and others around his feet, the court heard.

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