England

Retired teacher David Lowe jailed for pupils' sex abuse

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Media captionDavid Lowe has been jailed for 10 years

A teacher who sexually abused boys at two prestigious Catholic boarding schools has been jailed for 10 years.

David Lowe, 61, from Bristol, who is now retired, assaulted boys aged from eight to 13 between 1978 and 1984, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The offences took place at Westminster Cathedral Choir School and Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.

He targeted 10 boys, leaving treats for them and spanking them at his home, the jury heard.

Lowe was convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault.

Judge Martin Beddoe told Lowe he took advantage of "vulnerable" boys.

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Image caption Lowe left Westminster Cathedral Choir School in 1981 when one of his victims complained

He said: "All these boys were to some degree emotionally and physically vulnerable - some were more so than others.

"You took advantage of that and made it all the worse by what you did.

"What you did has remained more or less a secret for the best part of 35 years until now.

"But for the courage of all 10 complainants, in particular those most affected, a secret it would have remained."

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Image caption Lowe took advantage of pupils as they slept, the court heard

He targeted the victims, leaving sweets and treats for his "special group".

Lowe, of Charlotte Street South, took advantage of youngsters as they slept in their dormitories and during singing lessons at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, the court heard.

Lowe invited the youngsters to his flat and spanked them when they had broken school rules. He also crept into a dormitory and touched them while carrying out night-time checks.

A former pupil told the court he was 10 years old when he was abused.

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Media captionSome victims came forward after publicity around Operation Yewtree

In 1981, one of Lowe's victims complained about being repeatedly abused, and shortly afterwards the teacher left the prestigious school, Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, told the court.

However, it was not long before he started working at Ampleforth College, where he abused four of his 10 victims.

Jurors heard Lowe had a "small group of pupils that he was extra friendly with", and invited some to his wedding.

The court heard some of the victims came forward after reports of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historic sexual abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Many of the victims felt Lowe had "violated them all over again" by denying the offences and taking them to trial.

In mitigation, Sarah Elliott QC said father-of-five Lowe "removed himself from temptation" by no longer working with boys under 13 after he left Ampleforth College.

"The majority of the allegations involved offences carried out in a gentle manner without particular force," she said.

"Mr Lowe bears the burden that he has brought such misery and shame to his family."

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