Search

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

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

47 minutes ago
Zain Umer

University of East London student Zain Umer is heading to one of the world’s largest refugee camps this summer.

University of East London
Yesterday, 17:00
Pupils from Imam Zakarya Academy Primary School with their litter

More than 150 children hit the streets of Newham to help pick up litter from across the borough and raise awareness of littering as part of the Beautiful Boroughs Project.

United Kingdom
Yesterday, 09:00
Ceila Hammond receiving a donation of £500 from Petplan's Mykela Hamilton

The Ceila Hammond Animal Trust has won £500 to expand their accommodation for abandoned cats.

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Phillip Cranwell and Gillian DuCharme with Forest Gate Community School students

Back in 1997, headteacher Gillian DuCharme traded a Kent boarding school that counts Princess Anne among its alumni for an east London comprehensive for a BBC documentary.

BBC

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe