Christ’s Hospital School teacher jailed for pupil rape

Christ's Hospital School teacher jailed for pupil rape
James HusbandImage copyright PA
Image caption History teacher James Husband raped a 16-year-old girl

A former teacher at a top independent school in West Sussex has been sentenced to 17 years in jail for a string of sex offences including rape.

James Husband, 68, from York, was convicted of raping a 16-year-old pupil at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham.

He was also found guilty at an earlier hearing at Hove Crown Court of five indecent assault charges on the girl.

During the trial, the court heard Husband told the girl: “It’s OK, I’ve had a vasectomy,” before raping her.

Husband, of Wigginton, is the fifth Christ’s Hospital School teacher to be convicted of sexually abusing students.

Over the five cases, the sexual abuse at the school spanned more than 30 years and involved 22 victims.

Abuser’s ‘plaything’

Judge Christine Henson, who placed Husband on the sex offenders register for life, said the victim had give “harrowing” evidence during the trial.

The judge told him: “You put yourself in the position of her mentor in order to make her feel special and dependent on you so you could do what you wanted sexually with her.

“She viewed you as a father figure, thus rendering the abuse of trust particularly acute.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption The independent school charges fees of up to £31,500 a year

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the woman said: “The grooming process was devious and malignant. By making me feel special for the first time in my life, I became dependent on him for my own feeling of self worth.”

She said Husband moulded her into his “plaything” and “puppet” so “he could do what he wanted to me”.

“He twisted my mind to abuse my body and made my body feel dirty and degraded until I believed this to be true.”

She said she had been left with a “life sentence” of anorexia, suicidal thoughts and self-harm and suffered from “unbearable” flashbacks.

Although described by the prosecution as a “great pupil capable of achieving great things”, she said she had failed to make the grades to take up a place at Cambridge University because she had been “worn down” by his abuse.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gary Dobbie is yet to be sentenced

Husband’s co-defendant and a former head of house at the school Gary Dobbie, 66, of Rue De La Piale in Albi, France, was convicted of 15 counts involving multiple offences against six boys and two girls as young as 12.

Dobbie, formerly of Hereford, was teaching at independent Shrewsbury School, in Shropshire, at the time of his arrest in 2016.

He has yet to be sentenced.

Jurors heard the abuse took place between 1990 and 2001 and that both men were friends and used to laugh together about their actions.

After the hearing, Det Sgt Karrie Bohanna from Sussex Police said; “The victims of Husband and Dobbie were mainly children who should have been able to feel safe whilst in the care of their teachers.

“Instead both Husband and Dobbie exploited their positions in order to groom and sexually abuse their victims.”

An NSPCC spokesman said Husband “used and abused his position of trust in the worst possible way”.

He said: “His jailing today will hopefully give some sort of closure to his victim and at the same time encourage other people in a similar position to come forward and report what has happened to them.”

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