Gerard Singer found guilty of 'systematically' abusing boys at St George's School

Ipswich Crown Court
Image caption Ipswich Crown Court heard Gerard Singer may have drugged boys before sexually assaulting them

A teacher at a boarding school has been found guilty of "systematically grooming and sexually abusing" boys.

Gerard Singer, 69, was found guilty of abusing former pupils at St George's School, based in Norfolk and then Suffolk, between 1978 and 1981.

One witness said he was given wine, tied face down to a bed and awoke with a "pain in his bottom".

Singer was convicted of 27 offences, including performing oral sex and gross indecency.

'Befriending pupils'

Prosecutor David Wilson told Ipswich Crown Court Singer "abused his position of trust" while a teacher at the school, which was first based at Wicklewood, Norfolk, and then Great Finborough in Suffolk.

The court heard Singer, who lives in northern France, was employed as a language teacher at St George's, which moved to Suffolk in 1980 when the Wicklewood school became girls only.

Mr Wilson said the teacher took advantage of his position by "befriending pupils before then engaging in acts of a serious sexual nature".

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He said gifts including a calculator and sweets were given to pupils to win their favour and the abuse also happened on trips abroad.

Image copyright Suffolk Police
Image caption Derek Slade (left) and Alan Brigden have already been jailed for abuse they carried out at St George's School

Mr Wilson said Singer left the country in 1981 after he had been confronted about the abuse.

The court heard that in 1998 he was convicted of offences of sexual aggression on minors under the age of 15 in France, relating to offences committed between 1994 and 1997.

He is due to be sentenced on the week beginning 29 August.

'Awful events'

Suffolk Police began an investigation in 2009 when former pupils of St George's made allegations about abuse during their time at the school.

Former headmaster Derek Slade was found guilty in 2010 of abusing 12 boys and was jailed for 21 years. He died in March.

Alan Brigden, who taught maths at the school, was jailed for five years in 2012 after admitting 14 sex crimes against two boys.

In 2011 another teacher, Alan Williams, killed himself after being arrested on suspicion of sex assaults at St George's, when it was at Great Finborough, in the 1980s.

One victim, Gary, 48, who was abused by Singer when he was an 11-year-old child, said the verdict made him feel "he had been believed".

"The abuse affects me in many ways and how you live your life," he said.

"Always in the back of my mind for me is the trust has been difficult to trust another person. It has been very difficult, almost impossible, to have trust in a person because at school I had trust in a person and was abused.

"We can only learn from this. It's important people do come forward."

Speaking after Singer was convicted, Det Con Karen Crowther said: "This trial brings to a close one of the longest child sex abuse investigations carried out by Suffolk Police.

"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."

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