'Very calculated predator' - how jailed abuser befriended pupils' families
- Credit: Chris Bishop
A charming teacher who befriended pupils' parents was a calculating sexual predator.
Behind the smile, as he wheedled his way into their confidence, he was plotting how he would abuse their children.
Det Con Carl Ritchie, from Norfolk Constabulary’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said Tyrone Castles was the worst offender he had dealt with in his entire 23 years' service.
On Friday, Castles, of Dockray, Penrith in Cumbria, was handed a 25-year sentence after admitting a number of indecent assault on boys under 14 years of age and two serious sexual offences on one boy.
The offences are said to have taken place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, while Castles taught at Glebe House School, in Hunstanton, and involve a total of five victims.
"The most shocking thing for me with Castles was his cold calculation and the lengths he would go to to abuse children," he said.
"His MO [modus operandi] was to engage with the whole family, he would become endeared with his victims' parents to the point where he would visit them at home.
"What you've got going on in the background is a very calculated predator, who was working out how he was going to abuse his victims.
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“As a teacher, Castles was in a position of trust which he clearly abused for his own sexual gratification. It was prolonged, systematic, institutionalised child abuse. "
Castles taught games and science at Glebe House School in Hunstanton in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thirty years later, police received information which would eventually lead them to his victims.
In February 2019, detectives travelled to Cumbria and arrested Castles at his home before taking him to a local station for questioning. He denied the allegations point blank.
Castles was interviewed for a second time in June 2020 when he denied further allegations of abuse. He told officers that he had "looked after and cared for" the boys.
He was later charged with 15 offences relating to the sexual abuse of boys. Louis Taylor, the current head of Glebe House School, wrote to parents pledging similar abuse would never happen again at Glebe House.
"It pains me to think that the terrible things that Mr Castles is accused of could have happened at our school in the non recent past," he wrote
"Every single member of our school community puts the care and protection of children at the top of our agenda, every day.
"We are not complacent, however, and we will continue to review our policies and practices to ensure that we do our job to keep children safe."
After leaving Glebe in August 1990, Castles went on to teach at schools in Sussex, Kent and Northumberland before becoming deputy head at Mildenhall College of Technology in September 2000 and head at Earlham High School, in Norwich, from September 2003 until he left teaching in March 2007 and bought a hotel in Cumbria.
There are no allegations of abuse relating to periods he taught at any of these schools.
Hailing improved GCSE exam results at Earlham, in August 2006, Castles said: "We are very much looking forward to a bright future."
But in December of that year, parent were told Castles was on extended leave while education chiefs investigated the school's poor performance.
In April, 2007, Castles left. The school was placed on special measures and the following year, it was branded one of the worst in the country over poor exam results and high truancy levels.
Det Con Ritchie said some of his victims dating back to the time he taught at Glebe House were still struggling to cope. One described Castles as “dominating and frightening".
"Each victim is unique, they deal with things in their own way," he said. "Some have learned to cope with what's happened to them, others not so well.
“The victims suffered calculated abuse at the hands of Castles, who groomed boys and befriended their parents to avoid suspicion.
“Sadly, there’s nothing we can do to change what’s happened to these victims, they will have to live with the impact of his predatory abuse for the rest of their lives.
“I hope though that successful prosecutions like this give others, who may have suffered similar abuse in the past, the confidence to come forward and speak out. Allegations of child abuse will be fully investigated, with specialist officers guiding victims through the process.”
Anyone who has suffered abuse can also contact the Harbour Centre in Norwich on 01603 276381.