Head accused of sexual abuse was no tyrant: Bursar

THE BURSAR at a former Suffolk boarding school has denied that a headmaster accused of sexually and physically abusing pupils was a “tyrannical figure” who staff members were too scared to stand up to.

John Sinclair, who was working at St George’s School at Great Finborough in the early 1980s when Derek Slade was the headteacher, described him as someone who “didn’t suffer fools gladly” and said that anyone wanting to raise an issue with him would have to pick their moment.

However, he denied that Slade was a “tyrannical figure” and said it wasn’t the case that staff were too frightened to talk to Slade and would therefore turn a blind eye to things they didn’t agree with.

Mr Sinclair said there had been people at the school that staff could have approached with any concerns, including himself, if there had been a serious underlying problem with the way Slade had been operating.

Slade, 61, of Burton-on-Trent, has denied six charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, five charges of indecent assault on a male person and four charges of buggery.

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The court has heard that he has pleaded guilty to 15 charges of indecent assault on a male person and four charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.

It has been alleged that Slade beat and sexually abused young boys in his care in a “reign of terror” at St George’s School.

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Thirteen of Slade’s former pupils have come forward since a police investigation was launched detailing alleged assaults between 1978 and 1983.

The trial continues today.


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