Son of Greggs bakers chain founder jailed for being 'predatory paedophile' who abused four children
Colin Gregg, the son of the founder of the Greggs bakers chain, has been jailed for 13-and-a-half years after being branded a "sophisticated, predatory paedophile" by a judge.
Gregg, 75, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court having been convicted of nine counts of indecent assault on four boys over a period of decades.
Gregg, who helped build up the family business and also worked as a social worker, abused his positions of trust as a teacher and headteacher to sexually abuse boys, Judge Robin Mairs said.
Gregg had denied all the charges, claiming he was the victim of a "witch hunt" and that the complainants were looking for compensation.
Gregg grew wealthy from the family business and helped to raise thousands of pounds for children's charities, the court heard.
The judge said: "It is true you have enjoyed great wealth, privilege and social standing.
"It is also true that you used those benefits as a cloak of respectability behind which you sexually abused young boys.
"You were a charismatic, inspiring teacher and mentor but you used those attributes to groom boys and to protect yourself from allegations."
Gregg's defence was that the complainants were fantasists and liars, but the judge said the jury heard their evidence and they were convinced it was the defendant who was lying.
Judge Mairs said: "What it demonstrated is that there is not a shred of remorse within you for your offending and the utter contempt for the complainants as children found its echo in your contempt for them as men."
Gregg, of Homefarm Steading, Gosforth, Newcastle, abused one victim in a swimming pool, the others were molested in a gym, his study or a car.
The judge said: "This was sophisticated predatory behaviour, you are a sophisticated predatory paedophile."
The lengthy jail sentence came more than 20 years since police first investigated an allegation against Gregg.
He was cleared of groping a boy at a trial in the late 1990s, then more complainants came forward but a judge ruled he could not be tried on those allegations.
Last year he was tried when more victims made complaints and a jury in Newcastle cleared him of some counts but could not agree verdicts on others.
That led to a retrial at Leeds Crown Court which concluded earlier this month with nine convictions.
Sasha Wass QC, defending, said he continued to maintain that the allegations against him were false.
She said he had been happily married for 50 years and was a grandfather and asked the judge to bear in mind "the very positive contribution this man has made to society during the course of his working life".
Victim Personal Statements were read on behalf of two of the four victims.
One said: "The incident I described in court lasted for a minute or two at most but the ramifications continue to make themselves felt."
He said he trusted his teacher and blamed himself for what happened, before later feeling cynical about authority figures.
The other victim, who also cannot be identified, said: "I hope to put this behind me and never hear the name Colin Gregg again."
Belfast Telegraph Digital