Victim of paedophile headteacher tells of court trauma

ONE of headteacher Derek Slade’s victims has told how traumatic it was to be at the paedophile’s sentencing – and believes it is only by the grace of God that he is alive today.

Slade was sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison on Monday for 51 offences including buggery, indecent assault and beatings, which took place at St George’s school, in Great Finborough near Stowmarket.

The abuse took place between 1978 and 1983, with some of the offences being at its former premises in Wicklewood, Norfolk.

Many of the 61-year-old’s victims were at Ipswich Crown Court for his sentencing, with a majority of them breaking down in tears at various points.

The victim, who suffered the worst of the abuse and subsequently tried to commit suicide, said: “I am pleased with the result and sentence, but was surprised having got home that I do not feel any differently about the last 28 years of my life. You can’t get those 28 years back.

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“I’m still having to live with the memories and legacy of what happened. I believe this man [Slade] has had his 61 years. He’s lived his life the way he decided to live it, and in doing so destroyed many other people’s lives.

“You can’t get your childhood innocence back. It was taken. It was destroyed. What was left was who we are. I believe it was only by the grace of God that most of us are still alive.”

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The mental anguish of living with what Slade inflicted on his former pupils was compounded by the distress the victims felt when the details of what happened to many of the boys were read out in court.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “Having other people know exactly what happened to us as individuals, rather than as a group, cut very deeply indeed.

“One of the things we were accused of by the defence was collusion, and we always maintained that not one of us had spoken to another about our personal statements.

“None of my fellow ex-pupils knew what happened to me, and I didn’t know anything about what happened to them. It was very painful to have to sit and listen to what happened to us as individuals.

“This caused a great deal of upset to all of us. As each charge and each pupil’s name was read out, the rest looked at each other.”

When the judge had left the courtroom and Slade had been removed, the victims stood up and clapped.

The man said: “It was not because of what the judge had said, and not because Slade got 21 years. We clapped the jury and in return they clapped back. I can only assume that was for the courage shown by the individuals who came forward and gave evidence.

“I would like to stress there was no cheering when Slade was taken back to the cells. We applauded the jury for their decision, and for having to watch and listen for five weeks to what we had to say. What they had to see must have been horrific.

“The police have also done themselves proud. They have given us a lot of trust in them.”

Slade was also convicted of child pornography offences and having a false passport.

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