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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 17:59 GMT
Teacher guilty of pupil sex abuse
Peter Shotton
The abuse by Peter Shotton was a betrayal of trust, police said
A teacher has been found guilty of 10 charges of sexually abusing pupils at a primary school in West Sussex.

Peter Shotton, 55, who taught maths at Bewbush Community Primary in Crawley, committed the offences against three boys over a period of 10 years.

Judge Anthony Niblett told him: "You cared nothing but for your own perverted sexual gratification."

Shotton, of The Twitten, Albourne, was remanded in custody by Hove Crown Court to await sentencing in four weeks.

He will be placed on the sex offenders register and "almost certainly" be disqualified from working with children, the court heard.

The impact of this case has been very distressing for all involved
West Sussex County Council

The nine-day trial heard Shotton took hold of one boy's head and tried to force him to perform oral sex.

One boy told his family about what happened and, after his story appeared in a newspaper, two other victims came forward.

The offences took place between 1995 and 2005.

Shotton was convicted of 10 counts of sexual assault on a child under 13, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and indecency with a child.

He was found not guilty of one count of indecency with a child, and the jury was unable to reach verdicts on a further six counts of indecency with a child.

Outside the court, Shotton's wife, Liz, said all their family and friends believed her husband, a father of three, was innocent.

"We believe that in this present climate, men thinking of going into teaching should think very carefully because what happened to Peter could happen to them," she said.

Bewbush Community Primary School
The boys were abused at Bewbush Community Primary School

Det Insp Dave McCullough said Sussex Police had great admiration and respect for the young people who gave evidence in the case.

"They demonstrated a level of personal courage that is rarely seen in people many years their senior," he said.

"It is extremely rare for a teacher to be at the centre of such accusations and Mr Shotton's conviction should not be allowed to reflect on the profession as a whole."

West Sussex County Council said Bewbush Primary "deeply regrets" the case.

"As soon as the allegations against (Shotton) emerged, he was not allowed to return to the school and was subsequently suspended.

"The impact of this case has been very distressing for all involved.

"The school hopes the conclusion of this trial will allow it to move forward and that it can be left in peace to concentrate on the well being and education of its pupils."

Sexual abuse that went on for 10 years


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