A RETIRED teacher has been jailed for 20 years after being convicted of serious sexual assaults against 11 girls in the 1970s.
Timothy Bleach, of Hazel Walk, Broadway Park, Petersfield, was found guilty by a jury at Portsmouth Crown Court of 56 offences, including rape, against pupils who were under the age of 13.
They took place while he was a teacher at Weyford Junior School in Bordon, Hampshire, between September 1973 and December 1980.
The defendant would take the girls into a cupboard used as a photographic dark room as well as arrange for private piano lessons in order to assault them.
Bleach was caught with one of his victims by the girl’s father but, despite a formal complaint, he was allowed to continue teaching at the school.
After he left the school in 1980, Bleach emigrated to Zambia with his wife where he abused another girl, the court heard.
Sentencing the 76-year-old, Judge Roger Hetherington told him: ‘You used the cover of teaching, and the respect accorded to that profession, to pursue your predilection, which was the sexual assault of pre-pubescent young girls.’
He added: ‘You knew that they were too innocent and trusting to understand what was really going on, and too frightened to voice objection.’
Detective Inspector Jim Park said each of the victims showed remarkable bravery and courage.