June 2018

Ex-Teacher jailed for raping teenage girl 

A teacher who raped a pupil at a girls’ boarding school in the late 1970s has been jailed for 11 years.

John Aldridge, 66, was only reported to police many years later when his victim spotted his name on a list of convicted paedophiles.

Having abused the teenager, the former maths teacher at Bedgebury Park near Cranbrook, had gone on to commit several offences of indecent assault against young girls in the 1990s

He also repeatedly breached sex offender court orders between 2003 and 2014.

A court heard he raped the girl during a visit to his flat while he was a teacher at the school.

She was said to be ‘in his thrall’ after he led her to believe they were in a relationship.

Rumours circulated and the head teacher confronted him about his behaviour.

He initially claimed he was simply tutoring her but later confessed they had had sex and was sacked.

But when the victim reported him to police, Aldridge, of King Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, refuted the allegation as ‘fantasy’.

He denied rape but was convicted by a jury and sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court today.

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC said the abuse had ‘significantly affected’ his victim’s life since.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Paul Valder told the court the victim went to police after her parents died.

He said: “As time passed, she struggled about what happened to her and it had a profound effect on her daily life.”

She told officers Aldridge invited her to his flat and kissed her. He later undressed her, touched her and forced himself on her.

“She didn’t like it, but he kept on,” Mr Valder told the jury.

“She told an officer he raped her and took her virginity. Despite that, she went back to his flat regularly.

“He would stroke her arm and tell her how pretty she was.

“He made her believe they were actually in a relationship and in due course they would live together.

“It seems she went to him for comfort. She felt safe in his flat. You may think she was in his thrall.”

Mr Valder said Aldridge was later sacked and his victim felt shame and humiliated.

The boarding school closed after 81 years in 2006 and after the rape was reported to police, the headmaster at the time was interviewed.

He said it came to his attention the girl was a regular visitor to Aldridge’s flat but he maintained he was merely helping her with her maths.

The head said the girl was not to go there again, but he heard the visits continued.

Aldridge was spoken to again and this time he admitted having sex with the girl.

The head teacher then consulted the school governors and it was decided that Aldridge should leave.

His previous convictions include offences of indecent assaults on teenage girls at leisure centre swimming pools.

Aldridge was last jailed for 18 months in May 2014 for breach of a sexual offences prevention order.

June 2018

Ex-teacher found guilty of raping a pupil

A teacher who raped a pupil at a girls’ boarding school in the late 1970s is facing jail.

John Aldridge, 66, was a maths teacher at Bedgebury School near Cranbrook when he sexually abused the girl during visits to his flat.

A court heard the headteacher became concerned about Aldridge’s behaviour but he claimed he was simply tutoring her.

However, he eventually confessed to having sex with the teenager and was sacked.

It was not until many years later that his victim reported him to police and Aldridge, of King Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, was arrested.

He denied rape but was convicted by a jury today (June 5) at Maidstone Crown Court in Barker Road.

The retired teacher was released on bail but warned by Judge David Griffith-Jones QC he faces prison when he returns to be sentenced on Friday (June 8).

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Paul Valder told the court the victim reported Aldridge to police many years later and after the death of her parents.

“As time passed, she struggled about what happened to her and it had a profound effect on her daily life,” he said.

She told officers Aldridge invited her to his flat and kissed her. He later undressed her, touched her and forced himself on her.

“She didn’t like it, but he kept on,” Mr Valder told the jury. “She told an officer he raped her and took her virginity. Despite that, she went back to his flat regularly.

“He would stroke her arm and tell her how pretty she was. He made her believe they were actually in a relationship and in due course they would live together.

“It seems she went to him for comfort. She felt safe in his flat. You may think she was in his thrall.”

Mr Valder said Aldridge was later sacked and his victim felt humiliated.

The boarding school closed after 81 years in 2006 but after the rape was reported to police, the headmaster at the time was interviewed.

He said it came to his attention the girl was a regular visitor to Aldridge’s flat but he maintained he was merely helping her with her maths.

The headteacher said the girl was not to go there again, but he heard the visits continued.

Aldridge was spoken to again and this time he admitted having sex with the girl.

The headteacher then consulted the school governors and it was decided that Aldridge should leave.

January 2012

Barnet sex offender jailed for breaching order

A 60-year-old man from Barnet has been jailed after repeatedly breaching a sex offenders order.

John Aldridge, of Cherry Hill, was given the order in 2003 not to approach children, but on two occasions in August 2011, he approached three 11-year-old girls playing in Oakhill Park, Barnet.

Wood Green Crown Court heard how Aldridge, a registered sex offender, followed the girls and made personal comments about how they looked.

After the first incident, the children told their parents about a strange man in the park. The next time they saw him, their parents called the police and Aldridge was arrested.

In passing sentence, His Honour Judge Peter Ader, said: “It is not right parents should prevent their children — or children should fear — going into public parks for fear of meeting men like you.”

Aldridge was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison on Friday, January 27.

He was sentenced to 18 months for one breach of the sex offenders order and two years for the second, to run concurrently.

December 2006

Paedophile jailed again

A convicted Lynn paedophile was caught chatting to two ten-year-old girls just hours after he was released from prison for breaching a sex offenders’ order.

John Aldridge was spotted by an off-duty police officer asking the girls their names, ages and addresses in Tower Street, Lynn, on August 30.

In Lynn Crown Court on Friday, the 55-year-old former teacher, of King Street, was found guilty of “associating” with the girls and was jailed for 18 months.

A jury of seven men and five women took just over an hour to unanimously convict Aldridge of breaching the terms of a sex offenders’ order imposed after two previous indecent assaults on teenage girls in the 1990s.

On reaching their verdict after a four-day trial the jury were told Aldridge had twice been convicted of breaching the order before.

The court was told Aldridge was cycling through Lynn on August 30 heading for the railway station, when the offence occurred.

On the stand he told his barrister Robert Dalling he had needed to inflate a tyre, so he stopped at a bench on the corner of Regent Way.

Theresa Bradley, a civilian employee at Lynn Police Station, was standing across the road and recognised him.

Aldridge said: “As I was starting to pump the tyre I heard a small voice behind me. The words were something like ‘Do we know that man?’”

He said the girls had been sharing a bike and he asked them to go away.

“I said it loudly because I wanted the policewoman to hear it so she could be a witness for me,” he said.

“I knew it was not a good situation – I had got a policewoman, CCTV cameras and the police station right there. I didn’t want to have these children anywhere near me.”

He said he cycled away but the two girls followed him. He was arrested moments later by four police officers on County Court Road after Mrs Bradley had radioed the station to report the incident.

Under cross examination from prosecutor Hugh Vass, Aldridge insisted his previous convictions – for six indecent assaults on teenage girls at Hunstanton’s Oasis Leisure Centre and two more in a Bath swimming pool – were wrong.

Mr Vass suggested: “You are a cunning, devious and furtive individual, are you not?”

Aldridge told him: “I would have to have an IQ smaller than my shoe size to have begun committing offences with a policewoman, CCTV cameras and a police station nearby.”

He said he had been a schoolmaster for eight years and “wouldn’t harm a hair on a child’s head.”

He swooned in the dock and held the back of his hand to his brow as Judge Jeremy Richards sentenced him to the minimum term of 18 months imprisonment.

Judge Richards said: “It is a breach which was carried out on the very day you were released from the last custodial sentence passed by the courts. I think it is more likely than not that you did not set up the meeting with the children and you were not on the lookout for children. It was opportunistic rather than calculated.

“Childhood is one of the most important times for any being. Children are entitled to be and feel safe. Their innocence is to be treasured. Their trust is to be envied. It must be the duty of any civilised society to ensure those children are protected. They are, after all, the future of all of us.

“It seems to me that you are unable to come to terms with the situation you currently find yourself in.
“You are an educated man in denial about this conviction and I have little doubt you do not accept the verdict of this jury.”

The judge turned to the jury and added: “In this risk-averse society I do hope children are still going to be allowed to go out on their bicycles.”

 

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