January 2018

Former PE teacher, 63, who abused two pupils from one of Britain’s most prestigious grammar schools while his wife was pregnant is jailed for three years

A former teacher has been jailed for abusing two pupils while he was working at one of Britain’s most prestigious grammar schools.

Geoffrey Wake, 63, of South Chard, Somerset, took advantage of one of the girls after she ran away from home aged just 14 and went to him to ask for advice.

Wake abused the other girl when his own wife was pregnant and in hospital expecting his baby in the 1970s.

He was a PE teacher at Colyton Grammar School in Devon at the time and the assaults were carried out in the nearby seaside resort of Seaton, where he lived.

Wake was also a semi-professional footballer, playing in goal for then-Division Four side Torquay United FC at the time he carried out the attacks.

He moved on from Colyton and enjoyed a career teaching at schools in Devon and Somerset until retiring shortly before the allegations came to light.

Neither of his victims made complaints at the time but both suffered the psychological effects and Wake’s abuse was exposed when a relative of one of them called the NSPCC last year.

Wake admitted a total of four counts of indecently assaulting one girl when she was aged 14 and 15 and the other when she was 14. He was jailed for a total of three years and six months by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: ‘These girls were pupils at the school at which you taught PE in the late 1970s. They were aged 14 and 15. The second victim was vulnerable, out at night, and came looking for you because of her vulnerability she came looking for you. 

‘You were in a pub and had probably been drinking. She was 14 and instead of providing her with help and assistance, you took her into a shop doorway where you thrust her hand down your trousers.

‘I accept that since these offences you have lived a blameless life with many positive features in terms of supporting young people. It is a complete contrast to the abuse these offences disclose.’

David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the first victim was 14 and 15 when she was abused, and although she was a pupil at Colyton, Wake did not teach her.

She knew him socially and he abused her on three occasions when he was aged 24 to 26, including at least one when his wife was in hospital, pregnant with his baby.

The girl had consented to the activity but there had been an element of grooming.

The other girl was also a pupil, who had a row with her parents during the summer holidays and left home at night. 

She sought him out in a club in Seaton, asking for advice, but was abused instead. She fled from him and was found by a police patrol, which took her home.