Teacher accused of raping girl, 15, describes affair with 17-year-old
Ex-Christ’s Hospital School history teacher James Husband denies four counts of rape.
A top private school teacher accused of raping a 15-year-old girl has described in court an affair he had with another student.
Former Christ’s Hospital School history teacher James Husband discussed the consensual liaison with the 17-year-old – who is not an alleged victim in the case and was not under age at the time – while giving evidence in his trial at Hove Crown Court on Friday.
The 68-year-old, of Wigginton in York, denies four counts of rape and five of indecently assaulting a different pupil when she was as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994 while he taught at the prestigious school in Horsham, West Sussex.
The court heard Husband was married and his children attended the school in Horsham, West Sussex, during the time he embarked on the “fling”, as the consenting student described it in her diary.
When senior staff found out, he was told he would be suspended or could resign. He chose the latter, jurors heard.
Dressed in a grey suit, blue shirt and dark tie, Husband stood in the witness box and described the encounter as “spur of the moment”. He then conceded there were several instances with the girl – from holding hands and kissing to sex – but said he did not consider it a relationship.
During his cross-examination, the court heard him describe the moment he kissed the student on the lips after a disco at night in the school grounds.
He said: “I can see her in my mind’s eye looking up at me. I can remember the kiss.
“The look on her face suggested that she wanted to me to.
“I wanted to kiss her.”
In a diary entry read to the court, the girl said: “Told too many people at school then decided to go for it. The fling. So got off with him on Saturday night. The most amazing thing. Happy.”
This took place after he felt disgruntled with how the school was run, the court was told.
Husband said he took issue with headmaster Richard Poulton, as well as deputies Elizabeth Cairncross and Bob Sillett, adding: “I thought the school was a complicated organism and I didn’t think that they had got the measure of it.”
When Eloise Marshall, prosecuting, said the senior staff had been wrong to entrust him with students and he deceived them, the former tutor and head of department replied: “Given what I did, yes.”
He later added: “In that I had sex with two 17-year-olds, yes.”
Asked why the jury should believe him, he said: “I am telling the truth now.”
Addressing the charges involving the other girl which he denies, claiming they had consensual sex once when she was 16, he said: “I don’t know why (the alleged victim) has brought these allegations against me.”
The trial previously heard Husband is accused of telling the girl when she was 15: “It’s OK, I’ve had a vasectomy,” before raping her.
His co-defendant, head of house Gary Dobbie, is later said to have joked with the girl that she had “beard rash”, indicating he knew what happened.
Husband was reported to the school chaplain but no action was taken and even her mother did not believe her story, the court heard.
Dobbie, 68, of Albi in France and formerly of Hereford, faces a string of allegations against six boys and two girls as young as 12 between 1998 and 2001.
He denies 12 counts of indecently assaulting four boys and two girls, attempting to indecently assault a boy and two counts of indecency with a child. He was teaching at independent Shrewsbury School, Shropshire, at the time of his arrest in 2016.
Founded in the 16th century, Christ’s Hospital charges boarders up to £31,500 a year and counts Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb, and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge as alumni. Pupils still wear a Tudor-style uniform consisting of a long blue coat and high yellow socks.
The trial continues on Monday when Husband will resume giving evidence. Dobbie is also due to give evidence in his defence next week.