Mark Burgess survivors pleased to see 'inspirational Portsmouth music teacher legacy' become one of 'conniving serial paedophile'

VICTIMS who found the strength to come forward were pleased to turn a former choirmaster’s legacy from one of ‘inspirational music teacher’ to ‘conniving serial paedophile’.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:55 am

Despite revealing to police what Burgess had done to them, it left many feeling guilty for not taking action sooner.

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One victim said they had forged a successful life which they ‘would not have had’ without Burgess. ‘This is why it took me 35 years to go the police because it felt like I was betraying someone who was the nearest thing to a father figure,’ they revealed.

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Paedophile choirmaster Mark Burgess was jailed for 40 years.Paedophile choirmaster Mark Burgess was jailed for 40 years.

They rankled with what to do after ‘decades of conflict’ due to the impact Burgess had had on their career. But one day they found the strength to phone Childline before deciding to call the police.

‘If I cannot explain feelings that I feel that I cannot explain then I really cannot begin to understand what others have gone through who suffered sexual abuse far worse than me,’ they said.

‘Mark's legacy should be one of being an inspirational music teacher. Instead it will be one of being a conniving exploitative serial paedophile spanning 40 years.’

Another said that despite the abuse they considered themselves a ‘thriver’ who had been ‘exceptionally lucky academically, personally and professionally’.

Paedophile choirmaster Mark Burgess in an image taken around 1984. This image was shown to the jury at his Portsmouth Crown Court trial. Picture: Hampshire police

However, the impact of Burgess’ actions still lingered and it took a supporting relationship for them to realise ‘sex was something that was loving and not sordid’.

‘Mark was in a position of utmost trust and should have known better...and did,’ the victim said.

‘He had sex with me before I had the words to articulate what sex was.’

They added: ‘I also believe the Hampshire schooling system of the Portsmouth diocese should hold a level of accountability for allowing such a clearly manipulative and dangerous man to practice his despicable actions for so long.

‘The warning signs were there – it was ignored across generations of young boys.’

The Diocese of Portsmouth said Burgess’ behaviour was ‘abhorrent’ but no specific concerns had been raised at the time.

Others were left angered by Burgess repeated denials and ‘inability to look me or anyone in the eye on the witness stand’ with them branding his conduct on oath as ‘abhorrent’ as he even sort to besmirch the character of someone now dead as well as countless others alive.

‘I hope you are adjusting to your new role as convicted paedophile,’ one said, before adding: ‘You denied me and others the chance of moving on with our lives by pleading not guilty.’

Another labelled his courtroom performance as ‘arrogant and despicable’.

Burgess, of St Chad’s Avenue, Hilsea, was convicted of 48 sexual abuse charges against children.

He was found guilty of 26 charges of indecent assault, 15 of gross indecency with a child, four of buggery, two of sexual activity with a child and one attempted indecent assault.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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