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Trying to confront the paedophile masters at my old school Warwick: No 1 the music teacher

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 2 March 2023

Just over a month ago, I headed to Scarborough to confront a former music teacher at Warwick School who is a paedophile. Warwick covered up for him, ignoring complaints, and allowing him to head off to give private piano lessons in his own home after he left. Heaven only knows what went on in his front room in Scarborough. If you are an Old Warwickian (OW) who was at the old place in the last two decades of the last century I beg you to forward this article to any OWs you know for reasons I shall explain.  The music teacher is one of at least 6 paedophile masters at Warwick from my era. There may have been more.

I parked my car outside an address I had found on the internet and which had been confirmed to me by a friend of the music teacher. It was 8 AM and perhaps a little early. I had also been given a land line and a mobile by the friend.  The street was a run-down terrace in a run-down part of Scarborough, I heard a number of folks walking by speaking Eastern European languages. It is not the sort of place I’d like to spend my retirement years.

At 9 I finally plucked up courage and knocked on the door to be met by a youngish man in his dressing gown who said that my quarry was not known to him and he’d been there for four years. I thanked him, walked away and then went back and knocked again. It was the young man’s partner also in his dressing gown. Nope. They had no forwarding address, the prior occupants had all been Asian.

I wondered if the music teacher was dead so popped into Births, Marriages & Deaths. He had not died in North Yorkshire and, having been shown a national database, it seemed as if he had not died anywhere.  I vaguely remembered another address and so found it: another very down at heel terraced street with plastic front doors and satellite dishes everywhere. You could get change from £100,000 if you wanted a house here. I didn’t.  The address was a terrace end and I banged on the door getting no answer.

But a faulty blind to a small front room allowed me to look inside. There wasn’t a light on but I could see a tidy and book -filled desk indicating a scholarly mind and also a piano. Feeling confident I started knocking on the doors of neighbours and one duly confirmed that I had found my man.  He is now not in a good state and receives a daily visit from a carer and it was suggested I should come back later.

I lunched with my sister’s godmother and then returned. The light in that downstairs room was on and there was someone there.  So I knocked on a solid front door, with a spyhole, repeatedly. Nobody answered. Nobody made a noise. I guess the music teacher does not want visitors these days.

Back in his Warwick days, the mother of one boy in his first years at the senior school, had complained about the sexually inappropriate behaviour of the teacher.  Natch, Warwick did not act on this or on a number of reports, still on his record, of him being drunk on duty.  He just carried on teaching before retiring early to Scarborough to give private piano lessons in his house to boys and girls. If anything happened in Scarborough Warwick is culpable.

Wind forward to the mid-2010s, when my campaign to get Warwick to address the industrial scale physical abuse against myself and, it is now clear, dozens of other boys by sadistic Geoffrey Eve was in full swing.  I was then contacted by two OWs from different years who did not know each other but who both said that they were abused by the music teacher. The modus operandi relayed to me was very similar and I believed them and urged them to contact Warwickshire Police which they did.

One just could not face giving a formal statement, but one very brave man recorded his testimony on video tape at Leamington Spa police station. And, as a result, in 2018 the music teacher was interviewed by the police, under caution, in Scarborough. He was not in a good way, throwing up as he was questioned.  That was before #MeToo and so the Police said that it was just 1 against 1 and because the music teacher was not in a good way health-wise, no action would be taken.

That is wrong. We see 98 year olds in a frail state facing up to war crimes eighty years ago during the holocaust. Old age or frailty is no excuse and the music teacher is nowhere near 98.  I have spoken recently to Warwickshire Police and was told that if more witnesses come forward then the case will be reopened. The zeitgeist on sexual abuse at public schools has changed.

So, are there more victims of the music teacher?  I would bet the ranch on it. There was an active group of paedophiles at Warwick in the 70s to 90s and the idea that one of the would only have three victims in more than a decade is just unrealistic. But Warwick has pretended that it had no problem with abuse. Sure, it is now holding a covert enquiry but it only hears testimony from those who have approached it. The public position is clear, as in the letter sent to all OW’s:

Quite rightly, in the wake of high-profile failings nationally, there has been a greater focus on safeguarding in schools, and there is likely to be further scrutiny with the publication next month of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report into abuse in residential schools. Whilst we have not ourselves been subject to scrutiny by this inquiry, nor Ofsted’s review following the disclosures on ‘Everyone’s Invited’, we are constantly striving to improve.”

By telling OWs that Warwick had no problem, victims of sexual abuse will think that they were alone and will continue to suffer alone and not come forward. And they do suffer.  One of the victims of another paedophile teacher killed himself last year and the timing indicates very strongly indeed that events at Warwick a long time ago had played some part in him taking his own life.

Pro tem, whatever happens, Warwick seems determined to sweep this matter under the carpet but the Warwickshire Police are more proactive.

Therefore, I beg that any OW reading this article will pass it on to all other OWs he knows. And if someone else did suffer at the hands oof the music teacher or another master please contact me ([email protected] ) and – in confidence we can discuss how to take this matter forward.

One of the victims of the music teacher and I spoke after my visit. It still troubles him greatly. That the music teacher is now a decrepit old man living in poverty and set for a lonely death is some consolation to him. But it is not enough. We have no idea of the scale of the abuse that this man inflicted on boys in Warwickshire and, very possibly, in Yorkshire too. For many there will still clearly be no chance of closure. And until Warwick faces up to what happened then the many victims of the other teachers will continue to suffer alone and in silence.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
[email protected]
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