June 1998

Teacher’s catalogue of sex crimes on prep boys

A former preparatory school teacher who subjected six schoolboys in his care to a catalogue of “degrading and perverted” sexual abuse was yesterday jailed for 10 years. 

Edmund Clements (59) abused the boys, then aged between eight and 12, from 1974 to 1984, Leicester Crown Court was told. 

The abuse took place while he was a geography master at the Nevill Holt Prep School, near Market Harborough, Leicestershire. 

Nevill Holt Prep School

Passing sentence, Judge Peter De Mille told Clements, a married man, of Hove, Sussex, that he had committed a “gross breach of trust” and selected at least two of his victims because they were particularly vulnerable. 

The judge added that Clements, who admitted 33 sex offences against the six boys, had subjected his victims to “what any right-minded person would regard as degrading and perverted behaviour”. 

Mr John Burgess, prosecuting, said the defendant – who admitted 20 indecent assaults, four counts of attempted buggery and nine indecency offences – taught at the £10,000-a-year school from 1972 until 1984. 

The prosecutor told the court the indictment reflected a 10-year reign of sexual abuse of “small boys” which was only unmasked after a complaint to police from one victim, now 33, in January this year. 

The victim, in common with some of the other abused boys, was subjected to indecency when aged just eight after Clements bought him sweets and chocolate. 

After each episode of abuse, including oral sex and masturbation, the teacher told the boy they had a “divine pact” and should tell no one. 

The first victim was also urged to perform indecent acts with a second pupil and on one occasion Clements even drank the boys’ urine from a mug while he played with himself, the court was told. 

Another victim – described in court as “frail, dyslexic and particularly vulnerable” – said abuse started when he was “singled out for extra geography tuition”. 

Mr Burgess said: “That boy recalled being abused by Clements at his ex- wife’s home. The victim recalls the defendant saying the word `excellent’ during this and he says to this day the word `excellent’ haunts him.” 

The court was told the boy kept quiet through fear, despite being abused once or twice a week over a three-year period. 

Judge De Mille imposed a 10-year jail term on each count of attempted buggery, an eight-year term on each count of indecent assault and 12 months for each charge of indecency with a child, all the sentences to run concurrently. 

The judge told the defendant, who was working at a girls’ school in Horsham, Sussex, until his arrest earlier this year, that he had committed “a gross breach of trust by a teacher”. 

He added: “You appear to have selected at least two of your victims because they were particularly vulnerable. 

“You then subjected them to what any right-minded person would regard as degrading and perverted behaviour and that is behaviour which still haunts at least some of your victims all these years later.” 

Mr David Barker QC, defending, told the court that his client had found religion and recognised that what he did was “utterly wrong”. 

Mr Peter Copas, aged 53, the former deputy headmaster of Nevill Holt school, was found dead in February by police who went there to interview him. 

Chief Inspector Michael Grant, of Leicestershire Police, refused to comment on whether the death of Mr Copas was linked to the Clements investigation, pending an inquest.