Teacher abused boy after gift of chocolate bars, jury hears

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A languages teacher walked into a dormitory at a now-closed Suffolk school with a box of chocolate bars and then sexually abused a 10-year-old boy, it has been claimed.

Gerard Singer is alleged to have “very deliberately” fondled the boy after putting his hand inside the boy’s pyjamas as he lay in a bunk bed at the former St George’s School at Great Finborough while other pupils were nearby.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court, the former pupil said: “I froze. The people around me were either embarrassed or scared.”

The box of chocolate which Singer had brought with him was a “bit of a shock” as none of the pupils had much pocket money for sweets, said the man.

Singer, 69, of Elnes, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges of indecent assault, nine charges of indecency with a child, one charge of attempting to commit a serious sexual offence and three charges of commiting a serious sexual offence. The court heard that the allegations relate to nine former pupils and are said to have been committed between 1979 and 1982.

Prosecuting, David Wilson said it was alleged that the youngest of Singer’s victims was aged nine at the time.

Singer, a French national, was arrested in France and extradited back to the UK last year.

The court heard claims that St George’s School was gripped by a “reign of terror” led by headmaster Derek Slade, who died in prison last year after being convicted of a large number of sexual and physical assaults on pupils in his care. An ex-pupil told the jury that Slade would sanction “official” fights to settle disputes between pupils which he would referee. The fights, announced over the school public address system, only ended when blood was drawn.

The former pupil said on one occasion he was selected by Slade to serve at a dinner party being held at the headmaster’s house, reached through a tunnel from the main school.

After the meal, the man said Singer told him to wait for him outside his room before being taken inside where Singer unzipped the boy’s shorts and began to indecently fondle him, it was alleged. The incident only ended when three other boys walked into the room, the former pupil told the court.

The ex-pupil said that under Slade’s leadership, pupils did not feel they could question or refuse members of staff. He told the jury: “With that kind of culture there was always a sense of ‘just get on with it’.”

The trial continues.