Search

Former Manor Park teacher jailed for molesting children in his care more than 40 years ago

PUBLISHED: 10:38 07 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:38 07 August 2014

Joseph Birtles, now 81, was jailed for seven years at the Old Bailey for molesting children in his care at a Manor Park school Picture Ed Willcox

Joseph Birtles, now 81, was jailed for seven years at the Old Bailey for molesting children in his care at a Manor Park school Picture Ed Willcox

Archant

A retired primary school teacher who molested pupils as young as eight in a campaign of sexual abuse that lasted almost two decades could die behind bars.

Joseph Birtles, 81, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, was jailed for seven years yesterday at the Old Bailey for the attacks in the 1970s and 80s.

He sometimes carried them out in front of the class and continued with them despite allegations being made against him. He was first accused of molesting a 10-year-old more than 30 years ago at Kensington Primary School in Manor Park.

His abuse was “hushed up” by the school, the court heard, and a chance to catch him in 1984 was missed because Birtles stole a dossier of abuse claims from the headmaster’s study.

Birtles, from Wiltshire, was convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault involving seven victims between 1972 and 1984 after being foun d guilty at an earlier trial. He denied all charges against him..

Judge Paul Worsley said jailing him was not a decision he took lightly and noted he could end his days in prison.

“It was a flagrant breach of trust in respect of those boys who were in your care,” the judge said.

“You are convicted of a range of offences in respect of seven boys, some as young as eight and ranging up to 11 or 12.

“They were young, vulnerable, pre-pubescent boys and you took advantage of them.”

The judge said the abuse had been “hushed up” and it was likely Birtles had stolen a file on the allegations.

The case was reopened in 2012 when one of the boys told police he had been sexually abused.

Birtles did not give evidence, but his legal team suggested rumours had “spread like wildfire” because he was a tactile, openly gay teacher.

Nick Cotter, defending, pleaded for “mercy” because Birtles suffers from depression, dementia and diabetes.

Latest Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 21:06

A man has died after being stabbed in a residential road in East Ham, Newham, earlier tonight.

Yesterday, 18:56

Three people arrested during last night’s protests in Forest Gate over the death of a young father have been released.

Forest Gate
Yesterday, 13:32

A sixth form college in East Ham is celebrating after 95 percent of its students have been offered places at a Russell Group University.

Yesterday, 18:19

A group of architects have proven baking really is just a piece of cake with this innovative gastronomic take on the velodrome in Stratford.

Elizabeth Olympic Park

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Read more

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now