Bernard Haunch, ex-teacher, jailed for raping pupil

Victim Ben Tinniswood has waived his right to anonymity to talk about the abuse

A former teacher has been jailed for life after being convicted of raping a girl under 13 and sexually assaulting a boy at a school in West Sussex.

Bernard Haunch, 72, from south London, was found guilty of a total of 10 sexual offences involving the two children between 1975 and 1983.

Haunch was a French teacher at the now-defunct Fonthill Preparatory School in Coombe Hill Road, East Grinstead.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years by Lewes Crown Court.

Haunch pleaded guilty to two other indecent assaults at an earlier hearing.

Judge David Rennie said his cruel and sadistic crimes were carried out for selfish sexual gratification.

The judge told Haunch, of Marlins Close, Sutton, he had caused unimaginable pain and suffering, creating an agony of silence for the victims.

The judge added that it was hard to imagine a more serious case of child abuse.

Girl came forward

The court was told the girl was raped and assaulted between the ages of seven and 11 and the boy, Ben Tinniswood, was sexually abused between the same ages.

When the girl was 11 Haunch arranged for her to be gang raped by others on the floor of the school chapel, the court heard.

One headmaster knew that Haunch was a member of group called the Paedophile Information Exchange but he believed his explanation that it was a philosophical discussion group.

Bernard Haunch Bernard Haunch was a French teacher at Fonthill Preparatory School in East Grinstead

Another headmaster sacked Haunch but the case was covered up.

Sussex Police said Haunch was arrested and charged in July last year after the girl, now in her early 40s and not living in Sussex, came forward for the first time.

On his arrest Haunch assumed the allegations concerned his offences against Mr Tinniswood, now 40 and living in London, who was then traced by detectives.

'Healing process'

Mr Tinniswood, who has waived his right to anonymity, said that even after 30 years it was important to be able to talk about the abuse.

"As difficult as it was, it was a very important part of the healing process," he said.

"For a long time I blamed myself for being complicit...which I now know was ridiculous.

"As a younger man I had ideas of vengeance, but now justice is what I am looking for."

Det Con Dani Flude said: "Both victims suffered in silence at the hands of this systematic abuser, who took advantage of his status to subject them each to years of abuse.

"They have both been very brave in supporting this prosecution, and in giving evidence as a result of which this man was finally brought to justice."

Ms Flude said police did not have any evidence to identify the other men involved in the gang rape.

"Should further information come to light then Sussex Police will investigate them," she said.

If Haunch is discharged from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

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