Former teacher jailed for 30-year-old sex offences committed on teenage boys in Surrey and Kent

Kevin Copestake

Kevin Copestake - Credit: Archant

A man who dodged jail for 30 years after sexually molesting school boys when he was teaching at a grammar school has been jailed.

Kevin Copestake, 61, of High Street, Northwold, will serve five years behind bars after admitting a series of offences committed while he worked as a teacher in Tonbridge, Kent, and a school in Surrey.

He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday.

Copestake pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent assault involving one boy at the Judd School in Tonbridge and indecency with a child, and inciting a boy to watch a sexual act while at the Surrey school.

Copestake had previously denied the charges but the court heard how he had groomed the Tonbridge boy from the age of 13.

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Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, said Copestake, who taught History and PE, had invited the boy to his flat for extra tuition.

He then showed him pornographic magazines and sex acts were committed when they had a bath together, according to Mr Fugallo.

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He added that the boy felt 'powerless to say no' because Copestake was a teacher.

Another boy was also invited to Copestake's flat, where he was shown pornography and encouraged to perform a sex act on himself.

Those acts were reported to the police but no action was taken. Copestake was sacked in 1982.

At the Surrey school where he worked as a sports instructor and handyman he had taken two boys his houseboat in Chichester and persuaded them to perform a sex act on themselves.

Despite one of the boys reporting it he was not prosecuted but was finally charged after the assault victim from The Judd School recently came forward.

When sentencing him, Judge Michael Carol drew a comparison between Copestake's earlier denials and final guilty plea to the original denials of sex abuse by BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall who was ultimately jailed after he did an about turn and pleaded guilty.

He added that it was a 'gross breach of trust.'

'Children you were there to look after and protect were abused by you,' he said.

'You thought you could get away with it and for many years you did. You lied your way out of your criminal behaviour.'

In addition to the jail sentence the judge also imposed an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, ordered that Copestake's name must appear on the sex offenders' register, again indefinitely, and banned him from working with children.

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