Slade stole our childhood, say paedophile’s victims.

AS predatory paedophile Derek Slade faces the prospect of a long jail term after being convicted of more than 50 offences involving child sex abuse, child pornography and beatings, his victims today spoke of their stolen childhoods.

The 61-year-old former headteacher of St George’s School in Great Finborough was found guilty of three counts of buggery, four indecent assaults and six charges of actual bodily harm at Ipswich Crown Court today.

Slade, of Burton-on-Trent had previously pleaded guilty to more than three dozen other child abuse offences, dating back around 30 years.

In a joint statement after Slade’s conviction, his victims said: “Our time at St George’s has had a profound effect on our lives. Derek Slade created a culture of fear and suffering where casual violence and institutionalised brutality was enforced, tolerated and later accepted by everyone, pupils and staff alike. He stole our childhoods. What should have been the happiest years of our lives were turned into the most fearful.

“Our time at St George’s will never be forgotten. The process of giving evidence has been extremely traumatic, not only for us but also our families, but a great weight has begun to lift as a result of this trial. Derek Slade should never have the opportunity to come into contact with children again.”

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The case’s senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Adrian Randall, of Suffolk Police said there had also been further information about Slade which had come to light since the investigation began. Det Insp Randall added the investigation was still ongoing: “There have been phone calls and we are processing and disseminating that information.

“Whilst Slade may have committed these offences thirty years ago, for the victims their pain remains very real and several have had to relive their ordeals once more to ensure Slade was brought to justice. This has been a traumatic experience for all victims and their families.

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“I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for these men to come forward and try to make sense of what happened to them decades ago as defenceless young boys. Many of these people never had a voice as a child and they have had to wait some 28 years in order to see justice prevail.

“In 25 years police experience, many spent in a child protection, I have not previously seen such a gross breach of trust.

“He then went on to create a false identity for himself, complete with a passport fraudulently obtained in the name of a deceased person. In my view he remains a risk to children.

“Whilst those victims who had the courage to speak up about their time at St George’s have seen their abuser in court, those victims whose abuse resulted in the thousands of indecent images Derek Slade created and held on his computer have not had this opportunity.

Prosecuting lawyer John Fenn of the CPS Complex Casework Unit said: “We are very pleased this case has reached a successful conclusion, which is in part a tribute to the dedicated and professional approach of the police team, but also reflects the bravery that the victims have shown in coming forward, which is amazing. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for assisting with the prosecution; what they must have gone through at the time is unimaginable and to relive these acts through the course of a trial is truly commendable.”

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