Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Retired Hampshire teacher found guilty of raping pupils

Timothy Bleach
Image caption Timothy Bleach attacked girls in a school store cupboard

A retired teacher has been found guilty of 56 sexual offences including rape against young girls at his school.

Timothy Bleach, 76, attacked girls aged between eight and 11 while he worked at Weyford Junior School in Bordon, Hampshire, between 1973 and 1980.

A jury was told some of the offences took place in a school store cupboard which was used for recorder lessons.

Bleach, of Hazel Walk, Petersfield, will be sentenced on Thursday at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Image caption Some of the attacks occurred in a store cupboard at Weyford Junior School in Bordon

He had faced a total of 62 charges and was convicted of offences including rapes, indecent assaults and acts of gross indecency.

He raped one girl on no fewer than 10 occasions and another at least three times.

Hampshire Police received the first complaint against him in 2014 from a woman who had watched a BBC report on the force's work on historical sex crimes.

Subsequent allegations were made by eleven other women, with some saying it was the first time they had spoken about the attacks.

A further alleged victim told the court she had been assaulted while Bleach was teaching in Zambia, Africa, although the case was not prosecuted.

During a five-week trial, the jury was told Bleach attacked pupils in a school store cupboard, in classrooms and at some of their homes.

'Dangerous man'

Defence barrister Jeremy Wright told the jury the incidents were either fabricated or committed by other people.

But Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said the women had not reported Bleach originally because they wanted to "please him, do well and show respect".

One woman told the jury: "I thought the only person who would get into trouble would be me."

Following the conviction, Martyn Booth from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Timothy Bleach is a dangerous man who used his position of trust in the most abhorrent way to seek his own sexual gratification."

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