England

Wellington College teacher claims sexual abuse claims 'made up'

A teacher accused of sexually abusing five boys in Berkshire and Kent has told a court they conspired together to make the story up.

The accusations against Bruce Roth, 46, centre around his time at the Wellington College in Berkshire and King's School in Rochester.

He told Reading Crown Court that the ex-pupils had got together in an "old boys' den and made things up".

One of the boys was "sinister", the Maths teacher added.

Mr Roth told the jury he was left "shell-shocked" by claims he used to visit boys in their dormitories after lights out and sexually abuse them.

He said it was a case of ex-pupils getting together at reunions and bad-mouthing their former teachers.

"It is often the way that people make remarks about previous teachers and so on," he said.

'Bare-faced liar'

When questioned by his barrister, Alexander Williams, about the complainants, Mr Roth said one had sent him a Facebook message accusing him of being a paedophile.

He admitted he failed to tell officers after his arrest that he had previously been cleared of two similar allegations.

They concerned his time as assistant housemaster at King's School between 1987 and 1994.

"My mind was focused on these things [at Wellington], not Rochester, otherwise I would have told my solicitor," he said.

Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, accused Mr Roth of being a "bare-faced liar".

'Top bloke'

Also in court were ex-students giving evidence on Mr Roth's behalf.

A boy, now 23, said he had lobbied school authorities to make him one of his teachers, adding that he was a "top bloke".

He added: "Very few teachers I have felt have absolutely loved the job, but I always felt with Mr Roth that if he was not teaching he would not be a particularly happy man."

He had not seen anything untoward happen in the dormitory block despite usually being up until around 00:30, he said.

A girl who knew one of the accusers at Wellington told the court she thought he had invented the story.

She said the accuser implied Mr Roth had fancied him which led to a meeting between his parents and school staff.

Mr Roth denies 17 counts of sexual offences against children.

The trial continues.