September 2007

Sex abuse teacher jailed by judge

A primary school teacher has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for sexually abusing young boys.

Howard Beattie, 52, of Main Street, Knapton, York, abused five boys over a 15-year period, York Crown Court heard.

Judge Paul Hoffman said Beattie used “emotional blackmail” on one child and it was a case of “extensive corruption of that boy”.

Mitigating, Nicholas Barker said Beattie posed a low risk of re-offending.

‘Vulnerable and impressionable’

Beattie arriving at court

The Recorder of York Judge Paul Hoffman heard the offences began in 1977 when Beattie was a newly-qualified teacher at a school in the city.

Beattie had formed a “more intense relationship” with one of his victims and the abuse continued for several years, the court heard.

When the youngster reached the age of 13 he said he wanted the abuse to stop because he was interested in girls. Beattie pretended to take an overdose and the youngster “relented and the day trips continued”, the court heard.

When interviewed Beattie denied the allegations, but changed his plea to guilty on the opening day of the trial.

He admitted 10 indecent assaults and three counts of committing indecency with a child. Two other charges of sexual activity with a child were left to lie on file.

Judge Hoffman said Beattie had abused his position.

The judge told him: “Your offences span a total period of 15 years and that you were committing offences against very young children aged 10 to 11, to that extent it must follow they were vulnerable and impressionable.

“In committing these offences you have committed a serious breach of trust.”

Referring to the boy who Beattie had formed a more intense relationship with, the judge said he had resorted to “emotional blackmail” saying it “was a clear and nasty case of extensive corruption of that boy”.

Mitigating, Nicholas Barker said Beattie had done a lot of good work in his career, a career that was now in ruins.

Beattie was ordered to sign the sex offenders register and disqualified from working with children.