Fencing teacher jailed for sex attacks

A FELIXSTOWE fencing instructor has been jailed for six years after being convicted of eight sex attacks on a young girl.

A FELIXSTOWE fencing instructor has been jailed for six years after being convicted of eight sex attacks on a young girl.

Barry Clark, of Darsham Close, a leading British figure in the sport, spent five years repeatedly sexually assaulting the girl, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

During that time he sent her intimate letters and told her he loved her.

The 61-year-old had denied nine counts of indecent assault, which began when she was aged 12 while he taught her at a Dagenham school in the early 1990s.

However, after a two-week trial, the jury unanimously found Clark guilty of eight of the charges last month. He was acquitted of the ninth allegation.

Judge Simon Freeland QC told Clark today that the offences were of the “utmost seriousness” and that he had “manipulated” the girl for “sexual gratification”.

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He will remain on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

But Clark's wife Jos, 44, pledged to stand by her husband, claiming that he was not guilty of the charges and defending him as “absolutely lovely.”

Clark coached for the Salle Rose Fencing Club in Felixstowe and has been chairman and secretary of the Suffolk County Fencing Union.

He had been on the Epee (corr) referees' panel of the BFA and was a women's team selector at the British Fencing Association (BFA).

During the trial the court heard Clark started trying to kiss the girl soon after they met and the attacks got steadily more serious over the years.

A number of the attacks took place at the school where he was a teacher, either in his office or in empty classrooms.

The victim would often spend time alone with him in his office and recalls how he first touched her sexually by lifting her up by her waist, throwing her legs around his middle and rubbing himself against her.

But Clark also molested the girl in his car while her parents thought he was driving her to fencing matches.

The girl's parents had no idea what Clark was doing to their daughter and even let him stay overnight at their home before matches, the court was told.

The pair even struck up an adult relationship in 2003 after the victim contacted Clark on the internet.

That relationship lasted three years and it was only when it ended that the victim felt confident enough to report what had happened.

In his defence, Clark denied molesting a schoolgirl but claimed she had a crush on him.

He also claimed stretching and massaging exercises he performed on her after sporting activities were entirely innocent.

Clark had been an international fencer until injury curtailed his career.