February 2015

World renowned musician & teacher jailed for 11 years for sex attacks against female pupils in soundproof rooms


A world renowned musician and teacher at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music has been jailed for 11 years for sexually assaulting and raping young female pupils in soundproof rooms, where nobody could hear their screams.

Philip Pickett, 64, of Lyneham, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, who taught music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was found guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault during the 1970s and 1980s.

A sixth form student was 16-years-old when she was indecently assaulted and raped by Pickett in 1978. She prompted the investigation following the Jimmy Saville scandal. Pickett also raped a 21-year-old woman in the same year and indecently assaulted a 17-year-old in 1984.

Pickett was sentenced to 11 years in prison at the Old Bailey for his crimes described by Judge Wide as a “gross abuse of trust”.

“Philip Pickett, you have been convicted by the jury of a number of exceptionally serious sexual offences against a young woman and two schoolgirls.

“In each case there is the aggravating factor that this was a gross abuse of trust.

“You were this woman and these schoolgirls’ teacher to a degree they were in awe of you, especially the schoolgirls, and, as far as they were concerned, this was specific targeting of a vulnerable victim, a girl you were teaching and you had power over who would be reluctant to complain and most unlikely to complain.

“There is the location of the offence in practice rooms at the Guildhall School of Music – sound-proofed, dark, you turned the lights out.

“Even if they shouted, they could not be heard, as you knew well, having got them on their own and shut the door.

“The impact of these very serious sexual offences must have been very great indeed.

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama have co-operated fully during the investigation and safeguarding measures are in place to protect pupils of the school.

Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall said: “Philip Pickett used his position of authority as an accomplished professor to abuse young talented women who were vulnerable due to their age and the fact they were students of his.

“He knew how difficult it would be for them to report his crimes to the school or to the police.

“These are appalling crimes and I would like to pay tribute to the victims’ tenacity and bravery during the investigation.

“I hope they can take solace in knowing they may have stopped more young women being attacked, and others may now feel able to come forward.”

“Philip Pickett’s access to young women over such a period of time means that there could be more victims that have yet to come forward.

“I would urge these people to contact the City of London Police.”