September 2016

Teacher at notorious boarding school becomes 3rd member of staff to be jailed for sexually abusing boys


A teacher who sexually abused young boys at a notorious private boarding school has become the third member of its staff to be jailed.

Languages teacher Gerard Singer, 69, was jailed for 21 years after being found guilty of 27 sexual abuse charges at Ipswich Crown Court today.

The offences, which relate to eight vulnerable victims, took place between 1979 and 1981 at the now defunct St George’s School located initially at Wicklewood, Norfolk and then in Great Finborough, Suffolk.

His victims at the time were all boys below the age of 13, with some as young as nine.

Suffolk Police began an investigation in 2009 after ex-pupils came forward and said they had been abused during their time at the school.

Headmaster Derek Slade was jailed for 21 years in 2010 for sexually abusing 12 boys.

Maths teacher Alan Brigden, who now suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was jailed for five years in 2012 after admitting 14 sex crimes against two boys.  

Singer, from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, was extradited from France in December 2015 before he was charged and put on trial in June this year. 

He committed 16 counts of indecent assault, two count of gross indecency with a boy under 14, three counts of buggery, five counts of incitement to commit gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.

Speaking after the sentencing of Singer, one victim said: ‘Teachers including Mr Singer tainted my childhood which has affected my life over the past 35 years.

‘Mr Singer’s selfish and self-indulgent actions have made me question everything in the years since he abused my trust.

‘Only now after 35 years since this abuse happened to me do I feel the weight lifted from my shoulders and able to move on with my life without having to look over my shoulder or be judged over something that was out of my control.’ 

Another of Singer’s victims spoke of how the school failed him on every level.

He said: ‘The regime was intimidating, frightening and cruel. This made me particularly vulnerable to any act of kindness shown to me by an adult.

‘Gerard Singer took advantage of this and systematically showered me with gifts, and kindness in order to win my trust. Today it is called grooming.

‘As a result of this he interfered with me sexually. I was one of the lucky ones. I found a way to extract myself from the difficult situation I found myself in.

‘As I’ve got older I have revisited my St Georges days and spent time reflecting on what occurred there. I blamed my parents for a long time. This led to me having a very tenuous relationship with both my mother and father.

‘I have repaired the relationship with my mother but unfortunately my Dad passed away before I was able to do the same with him.’

Detective Constable, Karen Crowther said: ‘This trial has brought to a close one of the longest child sex abuse investigations carried out by Suffolk Police.

‘I would personally like to thank all those that gave evidence in this matter for their patience and the trust they put in us. 

‘I hope that now these matters have been dealt with it will help them to deal with the awful events that took place at St George’s school.

‘They should feel very proud that they have helped to bring to justice a man who has been a sexual predator and a risk to young boys for more than three decades.’

Another teacher Alan Williams, 59, killed himself after being arrested on suspicion of sex assaults at St George’s, when it was at Great Finborough.