Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 15:32 UK

Retired teacher jailed over abuse

High Court in Edinburgh
Pringle was sentenced to four and a half years

A retired teacher who abused teenage boys almost 30 years ago has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how former pupils of John Pringle, 81, now suspected he had arranged hill-walking and canoeing activities so he could be alone with them.

Three boys were abused by Pringle when they were 13-years-old on various occasions, between 1979 and 1981.

Judge Lord Woolman said the sentence had to express public revulsion.

The court heard how Pringle lured the boys to his caravan at a site in Arrochar with the promise of fun weekends and the chance to drink alcohol.

This conduct had grossly breached the trust inherent in a teacher-pupil relationship
Derek Ogg QC

Derek Ogg QC, prosecuting, said: "These events, unsupervised by any other adult and uninspected by the school authorities continued over a number of years.

"It was only after [the boys] grew up and became more socially aware they realised, to their distress, that this conduct had grossly breached the trust inherent in a teacher-pupil relationship."

Defence advocate Frances Connor told the court Pringle hoped he would die before the case came to court.

'Public revulsion'

Pleading for leniency, she said over the years Pringle had tried to make amends in his own way by devoting free time to charity work, particularly helping the homeless.

He also attempted to help one of his victims financially, the court heard.

But the judge said the offences were made worse by Pringle's "pastoral" role as a guidance teacher at the school, where pupils were encouraged to confide in him about their own troubles.

Lord Woolman said: "Although you are now 81 years of age and the abuse took place a long time ago, the sentence must constitute adequate punishment for these offences.

"It must reflect public revulsion at conduct of this kind.

"In particular it must provide a deterrent for others who might seek to abuse a position of trust."

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