August 2020: Two weeks ago, a section of land in Albourne, Sussex was cordoned off after a body was found. Police formally identified the body as that of Peter Shotton, 68, of The Twitten, Albourne.

April 2007

Teacher jailed over child abuse

A teacher found guilty of sexually abusing three young boys over a decade has been jailed for 11 years.

Peter Shotton, 55, of The Twitten, Albourne, West Sussex, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday.

Shotton’s offences happened at Bewbush Community Primary School in Crawley from 1995 to 2005.

He was convicted in February of sexual assault on a child under 13, causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and indecency.

He was found not guilty of one count of indecency with a child, and the jury was unable to reach verdicts on a further six counts of indecency with a child.

Shotton had denied abusing the boys while he was a maths teacher at the school.

At the end of a nine-day trial in February, Judge Anthony Niblett told him: “You cared nothing but for your own perverted sexual gratification.”

He was told he would be placed on the sex offenders’ registerand disqualified from working with children for life.

Jurors heard Shotton took hold of one boy’s head and tried to force him to perform oral sex.

One boy told his family about what happened and after his story appeared in a newspaper, two other victims came forward.

The jury heard the second boy had told a friend what had happened to him nearly a year before the newspaper article was written.

The third boy had also told his girlfriend before the story was published.

Judge Niblett told Shotton the boys had been in his professional care and he had “betrayed that trust placed in you as a teacher”.

“These offences were in my judgment made worse by the fact that the abuse was performed on school premises during the school day when they should have felt secure.”

He added: “You above all must have known the effects of your actions.

“You cared nothing for their well-being but for your perverted satisfaction.”