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Headmaster’s ‘sadness and dismay’ after former teacher convicted of abuse

Headmaster Simon Reid praised the courageousness of the victim in coming forward to bring Gary Dobbie to justice.

Gary Dobbie (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Gary Dobbie (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Christ’s Hospital School has expressed “sadness and dismay” at another conviction of a former teacher who sexually abused pupils.

Headmaster Simon Reid praised the courageousness of the victim in coming forward to bring Gary Dobbie to justice.

In a statement, he said: “It is hard to find the right words to express the depth of our sadness and dismay, as a school community, at the dreadfulness of this situation.

“No child at any school should have to endure the manipulation and abuse that were inflicted during what we now know to be a very dark period in the history of Christ’s Hospital.

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Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“As the current headmaster, I am deeply sorry that we failed to protect the victim of these offences and others who were entrusted to our care during what should have been happy and settled years.

“My apology to them is heartfelt and I hope that this conviction, the culmination of what must have been a very difficult experience in the criminal justice process, will bring some measure of comfort.

“From the testimony of this victim and others, it is clear that abuse at Christ’s Hospital was enabled not only by the perpetrators who committed it, but by the environment in which it occurred.

“I am conscious that it may not provide much consolation to those whose lives have been blighted in this way, but the school today is a very different place, one in which the safety, happiness and wellbeing of our pupils is at the centre of all we do.

“The close links with local statutory agencies help ensure that our practices and decision-making are both compliant, effective and open.

“We have worked closely with the police throughout this and previous investigations to provide as much assistance as possible and would encourage anyone else who may have suffered abuse at the school to come forward if they feel able to do so.”

Detective Sergeant Karrie Bohanna, of the Sussex Police complex abuse unit which investigated the case, said Dobbie had “engaged in systemic grooming and sexual abuse” over many years against pupils, adding: “Dobbie preyed on the vulnerabilities of his victims for his own sexual gratification.”

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