England

Christ's Hospital School: Teachers guilty of sex abuse

James Husband (left) and Gary Dobbie (right) Image copyright PA
Image caption James Husband (left) and Gary Dobbie worked at Christ's Hospital School in Horsham

A former teacher at a top private school in West Sussex has been found guilty of raping a 15-year-old pupil.

James Husband, 68, of Wigginton in York, was also convicted of five charges of indecent assault on the girl at Christ's Hospital School in Horsham.

The school's former head of house, Gary Dobbie, 66, was convicted of 15 counts involving multiple offences against six boys and two girls as young as 12.

Hove Crown Court heard the abuse took place between 1990 and 2001.

Jurors were told that Husband had told the girl: "It's OK, I've had a vasectomy," before raping her.

Both men were friends and used to laugh together about their exploits with the boarding school students.

They are yet to be sentenced.

Three other former members of staff at the school were previously convicted after police investigated complaints made by 22 former students.

Peter Webb and Peter Burr were both jailed after admitting committing offences at the school between the 1960s and 1980s.

Sports coach Ajaz Karim was found guilty in April of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993 and is due to be sentenced in August.

Groomed at parties

Husband was initially charged with four counts of rape and five of indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994.

Part-way through the trial the Crown Prosecution Service said it would no longer offer evidence on three of the rape charges so the court formally entered not guilty verdicts for those counts of the indictment.

Dobbie, formerly of Hereford, but now of of Albi in France, committed the offences between 1998 and 2001.

He was teaching at independent Shrewsbury School, in Shropshire, at the time of his arrest in 2016.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The top private school charges up to £31,500 a year

Husband left his job as a history teacher at Christ's Hospital when it emerged he was having a consensual affair with a 17-year-old pupil who was not underage, who was not a complainant in the case.

The married father, whose children were pupils at the school at the time, "deceived" senior staff by embarking on the fling, jurors heard.

He later admitted to the court that he had had sex with two 17-year-olds.

Dobbie groomed pupils by hosting dinner parties at his house in the school grounds, plying them with whisky and wine while encouraging them to talk about their sexual encounters.

During the hearing, it emerged Dobbie was facing further allegations of sexual abuse.

Prosecutor Eloise Marshall told the court there were "outstanding matters" against Dobbie as "two other complainants had come forward during the course of the trial".

Investigations are ongoing and no charges have so far been brought. Police confirmed the complainants were both former school pupils.

Speaking after the verdicts, Jayne Cioffi from the Crown Prosecution Service said both men were in positions of authority and had "abused the trust placed in them".

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