July 2002

Ex-caretaker jailed for sex assaults

A former Catholic school caretaker who sexually abused a ten-year-old boy has been jailed for three years.

John Bumstead, 69, of Harold Road, Hastings, showed no emotion as a jury at Hove Crown Court found him guilty of two counts of buggery and one of indecent assault.

He had also admitted two further counts of indecent assault. The offences happened more than 40 years ago.

As the sentence was read out the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sobbed with relief.

The attacks all took place during the summer of 1960 when Bumstead was a 28-year-old caretaker.

Judge Guy Anthony told the jury the defendant forced the boy to perform a sex act on him before buggering him on one occasion.

The victim said Bumstead told him no one would believe him if he revealed what had happened.

When he did report the matter he was told it was a “wicked” allegation to make and he was ordered to go to confession.

The man said he did not tell his mother because his parents were going through difficulties and he did not want to worry her.

But when he saw Bumstead last year he found the courage to report the abuse.

The court heard Bumstead had previously been convicted of two separate cases of indecent assault on a boy and a girl, both under the age of 16, in 1967.

Lynn Griffin, defending, asked the judge for leniency because of her client’s age and the time that had passed since the offence.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony said: “I bear in mind that since 1967 Mr Bumstead has not reoffended in any way whatsoever.

“However, it was a very serious offence to take that ten-year-old boy and bugger him. Mr Bumstead was in a position of trust.”

As well as the prison sentence, Bumstead will remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the rest of his life.

Speaking after the verdict the victim said: “He got what he deserved.

“It has taken me 40 years to get this and at last he has got his comeuppance. I am feeling a lot better now.”