March 2015

Sex ‘predator’ teacher jailed for sex offences on Stoke-on-Trent schoolboys

A RETIRED teacher has been jailed for sexually abusing pupils on school trips decades ago.

Pensioner Gerald Turner was teaching at Woodhouse Junior School, in Longton, when he abused the boys.

In one incident, the 76-year-old indecently assaulted a boy in a tent at a camp.

The same pupil was further assaulted on another trip along with another boy.

Now Turner, from Trent Vale, has been jailed for two years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after his victims came forward.

Judge David Fletcher told Turner: “You did this for your own sexual gratification. This was a gross breach of trust.”

It is understood Turner had connections with a number of schools in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Following yesterday’s court case, City Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for social services, said: “Turner was a predatory individual who committed these sick crimes.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

“We do not tolerate such behaviour and having worked closely with safeguarding colleagues and the police, swift action was taken as soon as the allegations came to light.”

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Turner performed a number of sex acts on the same boy during school trips. He also performed a sex act on a second boy.

Prosecutor Trevor Meegan said: “He told him it was ‘their little secret’.

It is understood another police force is also investigating a separate complaint against Turner.

The court heard the abuse had a profound effect on both victims. One turned to drink and drugs and has mood swings. The other talks of being ‘subjected to a life of hiding’.

Turner, of Riverside Road, Trent Vale, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault.

Anthony Longworth, mitigating, acknowledged the offending was serious. Turner has lived a life of public and community service and volunteers in his church.

Mr Longworth said: “He recognised what he was doing was for his own sexual gratification. He was frank and forthcoming with the police. He named other boys with whom he had behaved in a similar way. He feels a considerable degree of remorse for what he has done to the boys.”

Judge David Fletcher said the offending was aggravated as the children were targeted and there were two separate victims.

The judge told Turner: “You were by all accounts a respected teacher in this city with some responsibility for religious and sex education within the primary setting in which you worked.

“You involved yourself with these two boys explaining to them this was born out of a concern you had for them going through puberty and the effect that might have on them.

“That was a warped thought pattern. You were in this for your own gratification. There is no doubt whatsoever that the effect of your behaviour on these two now adult men has been serious and in some respects catastrophic.

“Both live with the consequences of your behaviour towards them. It has affected them in just about every aspect of their life.

“This was a gross breach of trust. You were a teacher in a primary school who had these boys in your care in the absence of their parents.”