June 2019

Ex-West Sussex school chaplain and teacher sentenced

A former Shrewsbury School teacher and chaplain has been jailed for 12 years for abusing nine pupils across three decades.

Gary Dobbie was found guilty last month of four counts of indecent assault against a boy between 1986 and 1991, at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex , having already been convicted last year of abusing eight other pupils.

The 67-year-old was a teacher and chaplain at Christ’s when the assaults took place.

Dobbie, who was the chaplain at Shrewsbury School when he was arrested in 2016, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Wednesday to 12 years in jail for all 19 offences, a court official said.

He is one of FIVE ex-teachers convicted after police investigated complaints spanning 30 years by 22 of the school’s former students.

In the latest trial, Dobbie’s victim told jurors it was “habitual” for him to be groped during night visits to his on-site lodgings while he was given wine and once fed smoked oysters.

Dobbie preferred to smoke cigars but would buy Turkish cigarettes for his pupil and also assaulted the boy during two school trips, at one point drunkenly lunging at him in a violent and sexual manner.

He told how visiting Dobbie was an “escape” from being bullied.

But he was shown little sympathy and instead groped under his school shirt while they sat alone on a sofa.

The married father, who still battles with urges to suppress the traumatic memories, said when he confided in a fellow teacher at the school he was told to “get over it and move on”.

Dobbie was arrested while teaching at Shrewsbury School, where he worked after leaving Christ’s Hospital. He then moved to France after living in Hereford.

He was found guilty last year of 15 charges detailing multiple offences against six boys and two girls as young as 12 between 1998 and 2001.

He had denied 12 counts of indecently assaulting four boys and two girls, attempting to indecently assault a boy and two counts of indecency with a child.

Sports coach Ajaz Karim, was jailed in August for 10 years after assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993.

In July, James Husband, also known by his middle name of Andrew, was jailed for 17 years for raping and indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994.

Peter Webb and Peter Burr admitted indecently assaulting pupils at the school between the 1960s and 1980s and were also jailed

May 2019

Ex-West Sussex school chaplain and teacher convicted of sex offences against boy pupil

A former teacher and chaplain at a Horsham public school has been convicted of a series of sexual offences against a pupil in his care.

Gary Dobbie, 67, of Rue De La Piale, Albi, France, was convicted of four counts of sexual assaults against the boy between 28 and 31 years ago, at Hove Crown Court on Friday (3 May) after a nine-day trial.

Dobbie had already been convicted in June last year at the same Court of 15 offences against eight other pupils aged between 12 and 19, while a teacher at the school, all but one between 1991 and 1996.

Following the further allegation received by police for the first time during 2018, Dobbie appeared again at the same Court in April this year and pleaded not guilty to four charges that he indecently assaulted the further victim, then aged between 13 and 17 between 1986 and 1991, who was also a pupil at the school while Dobbie was a teacher.

One of the counts related to multiple occasions.

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 12 June this year for all 19 offences – those of which he was convicted in June last year, and those of which he was convicted on 3 May this year.

Detective Sergeant Karrie Bohanna of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said; “This latest case involved Dobbie establishing a strong relationship with the male pupil over a period of two to three years whilst alone with him at his own on-site lodgings, where he would give him alcohol and assault him whilst having intimate conversations.

“The pupil had suffered a difficult time at the school and was bullied. He turned to Dobbie for refuge and had become close to him but on many occasions Dobbie assaulted the boy at his private lodgings, and on two school trips.

“As the court heard last year in the previous trial, Dobbie had also engaged in systematic grooming and sexual abuse over many years against other pupils. Dobbie would host dinner parties at his house in the school grounds with pupils. He would give them alcohol and encourage them to talk about their sexual encounters, and when alone with them, would assault them.

“Dobbie preyed on the vulnerabilities of his victims for his own sexual gratification.

“This has been a very complex and sensitive investigation in which the victims of Dobbie showed real courage to speak up and report both to Christ’s Hospital School and the police.

“Our investigation began in January 2016 when pupils first contacted the school and reported the abuse.

“Dobbie’s victims were mainly children who should have been able to feel safe whilst in the care of their teachers; instead he exploited his position in order to groom and sexually abuse his victims.

“All the offending in this case dates back to between 17 and 30 years ago, and does not involve current staff or pupils at the school.

“We have had the fullest co-operation from the school throughout this investigation, and they have supported us in providing all the information we requested, which helped us to contact these victims, and witnesses.

“Anyone who is the victim of sexual abuse, now or in the past, can contact us at any time, online or by calling 101, and can arrange to talk in confidence to experienced investigators.”

Further advice and sources of support are available on the Sussex Police website.

Dobbie is a registered sex offender for life.

July 2018

GUILTY: Paedophile ex-Shrewsbury School teacher abused pupils as young as 12

A former Shrewsbury School teacher is facing jail after being found guilty of sexually abusing pupils.

Gary Dobbie was today convicted of 15 counts involving multiple offences against male and female students as young as 12 that took place while he was working at Christ’s Hospital School between 1998 and 2001.

Dobbie, who was the chaplain at Shrewsbury School when he was arrested in 2016, was found guilty alongside friend and fellow teacher James Husband at Hove Crown Court.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for 25 hours and 43 minutes before finding the pair guilty of 21 counts.

A total of five teachers from Christ’s Hospital School have now been convicted after police investigated complaints made by 22 former students.

Dobbie and Husband used to laugh together about their exploits, which took place over the course of 13 years while they lived and worked at the school in Horsham, West Sussex, the court was told.

The pair looked straight ahead from the dock and did not react as the verdicts were read out.

Dobbie, aged 66, of Albi in France but formerly of Hereford, was found guilty of 15 counts involving offences against six boys and two girls.

He denied 12 counts of indecently assaulting four boys and two girls, attempting to indecently assault a boy and two counts of indecency with a child.

When questioned by police, Dobbie branded the claims “totally untrue”.

Dobbie groomed pupils by hosting dinner parties at his house in the school grounds with favourite students. He would ply them with whisky and wine while encouraging them to talk about their sexual encounters.

At one of the gatherings, a victim recalls a man who also attended as a guest rating the boys in order of their attractiveness, to Dobbie’s “delight”.

On another occasion, after giving a girl alcohol, she came out of the bathroom to find Dobbie had undone his trousers and was “grinning at her”. Fearing that he wanted to have sex, she left the property.

After she left the school, she told her mother, who phoned housemaster Neil Flemming but no action was taken.

Dobbie took a boy as young as 12 to a bedroom, telling him to take off his breeches and underwear while Dobbie performed a sex act on himself.

Another boy recalled falling asleep on his sofa and waking up to find him kneeling beside him with his hand in his shirt.

Dobbie even helped to raise money for another pupil – who was abused over a period of six years – to take a gap year after leaving school and assaulted him when he returned for a visit.

Three other former members of staff at the school have been convicted of sex offences against pupils.

Peter Webb and Peter Burr were both jailed in the last year after admitting committing offences at the school between the 1960s and 1980s.

Sports coach Ajaz Karim was found guilty in April of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993 and is due to be sentenced in August.

Husband, 68, of Wigginton in York, was convicted of one count of rape and five of indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1994. He insisted they had “consensual sex” once when she was 16.

He told a 15-year-old pupil: “It’s OK, I’ve had a vasectomy” before raping her, the court heard.

Ajaz Karim was found guilty of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993

Afterwards, he confided in Dobbie about the encounter, who later joked with the girl that she had “beard rash”, indicating that he knew what had happened. He also indecently assaulted the same pupil later on.

Husband’s victim “lay there like a rag doll” while he raped her and waited for it to be over, the jury was told.

She described being “disgusted with herself” and felt suicidal.

His victim reported him to the school’s chaplain but no action was taken. Even her mother did not believe her story.

Husband left the school after it emerged that he was having a consensual affair with a 17-year-old pupil who was not under-age and not a complainant in the case.

The married father, whose children were attending the school at the time, “deceived” senior staff by embarking on the fling, jurors heard.

The former tutor and head of department talked about the “spur-of-the-moment” encounter which involved several instances leading from holding hands and kissing to sex.

Giving evidence in his defence, he spoke of his desire to kiss her during a period when he felt disgruntled with how the school was being run.

In a diary entry read to the court, the girl said: “Told too many people at school then decided to go for it. The fling. So got off with him on Saturday night. The most amazing thing. Happy.”

Sussex Police began investigating teachers at the school in 2016 after allegations were made about Husband.

The cases, involving different victims and time periods, were treated as separate inquiries – apart from Dobbie and Husband, who were tried as co-defendants.

Publicity around the prosecutions prompted several more former pupils to come forward with complaints.

In October, barristers representing Burr, Karim, Dobbie and Husband tried to ban press coverage of court proceedings until all the cases had concluded – effectively attempting to delay publicity for the best part of a year – by claiming that it would be prejudicial to the defendants.

But Judge Christine Henson rejected the plea after it was challenged by Press Association in the public interest.