Abuse victim tells how he helped snare perverted teacher

Nicholas Quest
Nicholas Quest
Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich

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A MAN who was abused by his teacher as a child says it was his own son who inspired him to pursue justice.

The man, now in his 30s, was targeted by perverted teacher Nicholas Quest.

He kept quiet about the abuse he suffered until he started looking at schools for his five-year-old boy, and then decided he could not stay silent.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘I looked at my son and I thought I have gone through my therapeutic part of it and it no longer terrifies me, but if a teacher touched my son like that, if anybody did anything like that to him, I would be really upset. I thought it is my responsibility to say something.’

Last week Quest, 59, of Linden Grove, Gosport, was sentenced to three years in prison for six counts of indecently assaulting boys at Boundary Oak Boarding School, in Fareham.

He is one of several paedophiles, including David Kendrick, Terence Cawte and Nick Thorpe (all pictured right), who have been brought to justice in the last couple of years and sent to prison for child abuse committed years ago.

Quest’s victim said: ‘You have this guy in the back of your mind. For the rest of your life, he is like a monkey on your shoulder. When I first started this, I was not consumed with anger, this was not a witch hunt.’

The victim, who brought the initial charges, said: ‘When I reported it I had no real expectations of how long it would take. You get used to going stage by stage. I gave my statement and that’s when the police said my case would be stronger if there were more victims, so I set about finding some.

‘At the age of nine I had no concept of anything sexual. When it happened I had no idea that it was bad. I innocently thought that he liked me. It wasn’t until I heard some boys talking about him giving special cuddles to another boy that I realised that it was wrong.

‘For all these years, I have had this story in my mind, so I set about trying to track them down.’

He went on to social media sites and started talking to ex-pupils and found confirmation that he had not been alone in Quest’s abuse.

He said: ‘I got a bit of a shock when I came across one boy who had been affected badly and to hear him break down as soon as I broached the subject was heart-wrenching. From what he told me, he had even hidden on the window ledge to get away from Quest. From that point, hearing the mental curse on him, the case took on a different meaning.’

The victim said that the school, and its current headmaster, acted quickly and responsibly when he made them aware of the abuse.

The victim rang the school to speak to Quest a couple of times to ‘test the water’ and when he couldn’t get through to him, he passed a message to the headmaster who straightaway reported it to the authorities.

He said: ‘I have mixed feelings about the school. I have lots of good memories there but if somebody knew something back then, then they are to blame.

‘People like to sweep things under the carpet and a lot of people cannot handle the responsibility when they are handed that kind of information.

‘The current headmaster has been amazing. It had been on my mind for some time.’

The victim could not be at the court case to hear the sentencing, but was informed by police of the result.

He said: ‘To hear him plead guilty was a massive relief, as you no longer have to convince people that this happened. He had to be made accountable.

‘Every moment from now on in his life will be tarnished. He will never have that trust again from his family and I am happy with that.’

Paedophile Quest given three-year prison term

Nicholas Quest appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court last week charged with seven counts of indecently assaulting boys under the age of 16.

The 59-year-old, of Linden Grove, Gosport, pleaded guilty last month to six counts of indecent assault between 1975 and 1989.

Abuse on another boy was taken into consideration at the hearing.

The abuse happened while he worked at Boundary Oak Boarding School in Fareham, as a teacher of English, French, Latin and games.

Quest joined the school in 1975, and began abusing boys straight away. The court heard he often used his popularity among students to gain the trust of the boys, who were between the ages of seven and 13 at the time of the abuse.

He carried out the sickening attacks in classrooms, and in the school library.

The school suspended Quest when the abuse was reported to them, and he later resigned.

Sentencing, Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘All of these victims will have been affected to some degree by what you did to them.

‘It’s plain from the statements I have read that some of them have been significantly affected and this would have led to difficulties in their later life.

‘This was a gross abuse of trust.’

Quest was jailed for three years and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life and banned from working with children.

Police praise men’s bravery in pressing charges

HAMPSHIRE Constabulary praised the bravery of the victims.

Det Con Sarah Ridler said she hoped that the sentencing would encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward in confidence. Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Ridler said: ‘Some people might think it was so long ago nobody wants to know now but on the contrary, no matter how long ago something happened, I would encourage anyone to come forward.

‘If someone is in a position of trust, they should not abuse that position.’

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Historical cases of abuse are treated very seriously and in this case we would like to thank the victims for coming forward.’