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 News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00
The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales (centre) with Cllrs Obaid Khan, left, and Unmesh Desai, and children from Community Links' after school club in Rokeby Street, Stratford.

The Mayor of Newham has pledged his support to the Newham Recorder and Community Links Christmas Toy Appeal, handing over a donation to some of the youngsters supported by the charity.

Robin
Fri, 16:09
Planned engineering work could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Fri, 15:39
Egita Galvona has set up a sewing class workshop in Stratford

A clothes-making mum has set up her own sewing workshop to give others the freedom to create their own threads.

Newham College
Fri, 12:00
The Scrabble Champions tournament is taking place at the ExCel

For many people, Scrabble is a game that only gets played with the family when you’re full of roast turkey and trimmings.

London

Most read news

The final GP in the UAE may not have been a thriller, but it did kind of sum up the season for a lot of drivers.

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition