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Former East Grinstead teacher jailed for life over child sex attacks

By East Grinstead Courier  |  Posted: December 06, 2012

  • Bernard Haunch will probably spend the rest of his life in prison


A FORMER teacher who carried out a series of horrific sex attacks on two children has been jailed for life.

Pensioner Bernard Haunch will have to serve at least 20 years behind bars and will be 92 before he is even considered for parole.

The string of offences, including four rapes, were committed against a boy and a girl in the 1970s and 80s.

The 72-year-old was a French teacher at the now-closed Fonthill Preparatory School, in Coombe Hill Road, East Grinstead, where the attacks took place.

Following a two-week retrial at Lewes Crown Court, Haunch was convicted on Tuesday of nine sexual assaults, comprising four rapes, two counts of buggery and three indecent assaults on a girl aged between 7 and 11, between 1975 and 1979.

He was also convicted of an indecent assault on a boy aged between 7 and 11, some time between 1980 and 1983. Haunch had already pleaded guilty to two separate charges, of indecent assault and gross indecency on the same boy.

Judge David Rennie sentenced Haunch to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 20 years.

He will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Haunch, now of Marlins Close, in Sutton, south London, was arrested in February last year and charged with a total of 18 offences five months later.

He admitted two and was found guilty of a further ten.

The investigation began when the female victim of his now in her early 40s came forward for the first time to tell police about her ordeal.

On his arrest, Haunch assumed the allegations concerned his offences on the boy, who Sussex Police detectives then traced.

DC Dani Flude, of the West Sussex Police child protection team, said: "Both victims suffered in silence at the hands of this systematic abuser, who took advantage of his status to subject them each to years of abuse.

"They have both been very brave in supporting this prosecution."

At his initial trial, the court heard that Haunch, before teaching at Fonthill, had turned to a paedophile support group for help with his obsession with prepubescent boys.

He admitted he was "mesmerised" by the boy who he had abused.

But he had claimed he was innocent of the attacks on the girl, with the court being told he "had no interest in females" as "his interest was entirely in boys younger than 14, before they had developed any signs of puberty".

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