Teacher denies fleeing UK because sex abuse allegations were about to be made public

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A former teacher at a now-closed Suffolk school has denied he fled the county at night because of a warning his alleged abuse of pupils was going to be made public.

Gerard Singer told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that his midnight exodus from St George’s School at Great Finborough in November 1981 had been because he feared the headmaster, Derek Slade.

Giving evidence, Singer, who faces 28 charges involving the sexual abuse of boys in his care, claimed he had challenged Slade about beatings being meted out to pupils.

Singer said that rather than being warned by Slade to flee because his alleged activities were about to be exposed, he had gone to his native France to avoid Slade’s wrath.

The court has heard that Slade, who died in prison last year, was subsequently convicted of a string of physical and sexual abuse offences involving pupils.

It is alleged that Singer, 69, of Elnes, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, who was extradited back to the UK last year, sexually abused boys while he was working as a language teacher.

He has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges of indecent assault, nine charges of indecency with a child, one charge of assault with intent to commit a serious sexual offence and three charges of committing 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.

The youngest victim is alleged to have been aged nine at the time.

During the trial, former pupils at St George’s School have given evidence to detail what they claim was their treatment at the hands of Singer who has denied ever having done anything inappropriate with pupils.

The jury has heard that following his return to France, Singer was convicted of sexually touching three boys under the age of 15.

Prosecuting, David Wilson described the three boys in the French prosecution and the 10 alleged to have been abused in Suffolk as the “unlucky 13.”

Singer said that all the boys who gave evidence against him had been lying.

Singer told the court that he had denied the offences in France but decided against appealing his conviction because he didn’t want to go through the whole thing again.”

The trial continues.