Sussex

Former head of Boris school held in child sex inquiry

Ashdown House Preparatory School
Image caption Clive Williams was headmaster of Ashdown House for 25 years before he left in 2003

The former headmaster of a prep school attended by London mayor Boris Johnson, has been arrested on suspicion of historic sex assaults.

Clive Williams, 69, was headmaster at Ashdown House Preparatory School in Forest Row, East Sussex for more than 25 years before he left in 2003.

He was questioned by Sussex Police about alleged sexual assault and child neglect offences against pupils.

Mr Williams was not charged and was bailed until 11 November.

Police said a 69-year-old man was arrested at an address in Barcombe, near Lewes, on Wednesday and a computer and documentation were seized.

The man was not named but BBC sources confirmed he was Clive Williams.

Specialist teams

"During January this year we were contacted by a firm of solicitors representing a number of clients who have reported to them that they were sexually and physically assaulted by staff, whilst they were pupils at Ashdown House School near Forest Row in the 1970s," a police spokesman said.

"We have since been in contact with 20 people reporting offences against them, including those clients.

"Most have already been interviewed by officers from our specialist Child Protection Team in East Sussex.

"The investigation continues and now spans a period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Boris Johnson is among former pupils at Ashdown House Preparatory School

Sussex Police said there were no current safeguarding issues at the school.

Ashdown House has been owned by the Cothill Educational Trust since 2009.

The trust said in a statement in January, it understood that it may be the subject of legal proceedings relating to episodes of abuse, said to have taken place between 30 and 40 years ago.

"The trustees are deeply saddened about those matters and wish to do everything they can to assist any former pupil who has been affected," it said.

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