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Former deputy head guilty of abusing boys

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

David Lowe
A FORMER Newbury deputy headteacher has been jailed for 10 years for sexually abusing boys as young as eight in his care. David Lowe, aged 61, molested 10 boys, Southwark Crown Court heard. Married man Lowe crept around boys’ dormitories at night, fondling and spanking them in their bunk-beds, jurors heard. The father-of-five also carried out attacks during piano lessons and even in a sick bay, the court was told. The tutor sexually assaulted six boys at Westminster Cathedral Choir School in London and four at Ampleforth College – the leading Catholic school in North Yorkshire – between 1978 and 1984. Lowe went on to become deputy head of Douai School, Woolhampton, in the 1990s. There is no suggestion any abuse took place at that establishment. Lowe, who lived at Charlotte Street South, Bristol, denied 15 indecent assaults on boys under 14, but was convicted following a trial last month and was sentenced last Thursday. Many of his victims looked on from the public gallery as their former teacher was jailed in what one said was “the worst school reunion ever”. One former pupil at Westminster Cathedral Choir School said he was sexually assaulted in Lowe’s car after he was invited to visit him in Yorkshire, the jury heard. Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, said: “David Lowe had a small group of pupils that he was extra-friendly with. He would leave sweets in his locker and notes, [like], ‘You’re very special, you deserve this, enjoy’.” Giving evidence, a former Ampleforth pupil said he was aged just 10 when he was attacked during private piano lessons in the early 1980s. A former Westminster pupil, also aged 10 at the time of the abuse, described his tutor resting his hands on his stomach and instructing him to “sing using your diaphragm” before molesting him. The pupil, now in his 40s, said he once begged a classmate to stay behind at the end of the lesson, to try to avoid Lowe’s attentions. He said his memory was “crystal clear” of Lowe telling him to take down his pants and lie across his lap while the teacher molested him. Lowe bought him sweets and whispered: “Just remember, it’s our little secret, okay?” jurors were told. He added he had been molested by Lowe “possibly a dozen times in all” but said he was “not going to screw me over again” and reported the abuse to police after years of silence. Lowe insisted he had no sexual interest in children and claimed the only physical contact he had with boys was when he tried to help them relax. He said: “At some point in the lesson I would have spoken about the importance of control of your diaphragm. “As I recall, I would have been putting one hand on the stomach and another hand possibly on the small of the back and that would allow the person to see how their diaphragm was moving. It would be over [the boy’s] clothing.” Judge Martin Beddoe told Lowe: “Some of the boys were as young as eight or nine and many between 10 and 11. “All of them were entrusted to your care as a member of staff at each school. “That trust was seriously betrayed by what you did. Your responsibility was to protect their welfare, not damage it.”            

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