Former Essex teacher jailed for rape of girl

A FORMER Essex teacher has been jailed for raping a schoolgirl. Richard Atkins, who taught at Sandon School, Chelmsford, was sentenced to seven years for the offences which happened in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

James Hore

A FORMER Essex teacher has been jailed for raping a schoolgirl.

Richard Atkins, who taught at Sandon School, Chelmsford, was sentenced to seven years for the offences which happened in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The 58-year-old was also convicted of eight assaults against the girl and one indecent assault which took place in the Coventry area.


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Police said Atkins, who first attacked the girl when she was six, later worked at Sandon School in 1993.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was not a pupil at any of the schools where he taught.

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She rebuilt her life after the “sustained attacks” which she told her mother about when she was 19.

When confronted with the allegations in the late 1990s Atkins fled from his home before eventually settling in Ireland.

Married Atkins, whose wife knew nothing of his secret past, returned to the UK just before Christmas - where police were waiting for him at the airport.

He immediately admitted the rape and string of sexual offences.

DCI Bas Javid said: “The evidence that built up against Atkins was compelling and we were ready to extradite him when he suddenly returned.

“Whether he wanted to wipe the slate clean we don't know, but it is certain that this man inflicted a great deal of torment on his victim over a sustained spell.”

The father-of-three also taught at Ridgeway School in Tunbridge Wells, Kent between 1977 and 1987 and at Tile Hill Wood School in Coventry between 1974 and 1977.

Police also believe he may have done out-of-hours tutoring work for youngsters during his career.

DCI Javid, of West Midlands Police, added: “People like Atkins in a position of authority are rarely complained against as the vulnerable victims feel no one will believe their word against the offender.

“We investigated this thoroughly to the extent that Atkins felt the game was up and we are pleased that someone who once held a position of trust and authority cannot do so again.”

He was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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