Suffolk: Former teacher Alan Brigden jailed for child abuse offences

A RETIRED maths teacher who taught at a school with links to a former Suffolk boarding school has been jailed for five years for sexually abusing two boys more than 30 years ago.

At the time of the offences in 1977 and 1980 Alan Brigden was teaching at a boys boarding school in Sussex and then at the former St George’s School, which was based in Wicklewood near Wymondham in Norfolk before moving to Great Finborough, near Stowmarket.

Brigden, 67, who has been living in Amsterdam, was extradited from Holland in January following a long running police inquiry into the former St George’s School which led to former headmaster Derek Slade being jailed for 21 years in 2010 for sexually and physically abusing pupils.

Brigden admitted four offences of assault with intent to commit buggery, four offences of indecency with a boy under the age of 14 and six offences of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14.

Jailing him for five years, Judge Rupert Overbury described the offences as a gross breach of trust.

He gave Brigden, who also taught at Charterhouse and Marlborough College, credit for pleading guilty to the offences and sparing his two victims the ordeal of coming to court and “reliving the horrors of their childhood.”

Jan Brewer, prosecuting, said that in 1977, while Brigden was teaching at a school in Sussex, he had taken the victim and two other boys on holiday to the Lake District and while there had groped his genitals over his underwear and taken photographs. The boy had slapped Brigden’s hand away and on his return to school had told the matron what had happened.

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Brigden left the school in Sussex and by 1979, using the name Morton, he was teaching at the former St George’s School at Wicklewood.

There he befriended an 11-year-old boy and took him on a 10 day train trip around England and Wales during which he sexually assaulted the boy every night while they slept on the train.

Miss Brewer said the boy had not like what was happening to him and had asked to go home. She said the situation had been confusing for him as Brigden had been nice to him during the day but every night was like “a bad dream or nightmare”.

Miss Brewer said items of clothing belonging to the boy, including his school shorts and PE shorts with his name sewn on them, were recovered from Brigden’s home in Amsterdam.

Nicholas Bleaney, for Brigden, said his client, who was brought into court in a wheelchair, suffered from Parkinsons Disease. He said there was no evidence Brigden had reoffended in the years following the offences the court had heard about.

After the sentencing, one of Brigden’s victims released a statement describing the “profound and lasting” impact the abuse had on his life.

He said: “Alan Brigden was a maths teacher in St George’s Boarding School for Boys in Norfolk who had a profound and lasting negative effect on my life. I was a vulnerable child when he came into my life, I already had been subjected to an extraordinary scale of brutality and abuse under the regime of Derek Slade and was an easy target for someone like Brigden, a man who was in a position of responsibility and who was supposed to protect and educate children, but in fact his motives to place himself in the position were entirely nefarious.

“I cannot relay to you how much this man manipulated me; I was left to feel everything was my fault, that something was wrong with me. I was convinced as a child that telling anybody anything about the abuse would bring nothing but shame, disbelief and trouble to me. I was 11 years old, bright, confident and glad to be in the world before I went to St George’s School. I hope that now at 43 years old that I can begin to discover what it might be like to be glad to be in the world once again.”