Former pupil says head was ‘a sadist’

A PUPIL at a former Suffolk boarding school has described the headmaster, who is accused of sexually and physically abusing young boys in his care, as a “sadist”.

The witness, who was a pupil at the former St George’s schools in Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, and Wicklewood in Norfolk in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that Derek Slade, who was the headteacher at both establishments, took pride in his collection of “whacking” implements.

He said this collection included a large table tennis bat, a cane and a slipper.

In a videotaped interview with a police officer played to the court, the witness was asked: “Why did he need so many implements?” and the witness replied: “Because he was sick. He was a sadist.”

The witness, who was nine when he was sent to St George’s at Wicklewood and about 10 or 11 when the school moved to Great Finborough, described the way Slade ran the school as “tyrannical bullying” and added “prison would be better”.


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He recalled one occasion when he was summoned to Slade’s bedroom at the school by a prefect.

He said he was ordered to take down his trousers and pants before being allegedly put over Slade’s knee and smacked on his bare bottom.

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He claimed Slade had then sat next to him on the bed and had cuddled him. He said that on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most painful, the beating had been an eight.

The witness also described two occasions when Slade had allegedly punched him in the stomach and then kicked him while he was on the ground.

He said that on one of the occasions, he was being punished because he had sneaked out during a carol service to go to the toilet and on the other because he had missed a school outing.

Slade, 61, of Burton-on-Trent, has denied six charges of assault, five of indecent assault and four of buggery. He has admitted 15 charges of indecent assault and four charges of assault.

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