November 2019

Former headteacher Roger Whitehouse jailed for sex attack on pupil

A pensioner convicted of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage girl while he was in charge of a South Cumbria school has been jailed.

Former headmaster Roger Whitehouse’s historical offences occurred over the course of several months during the 1980s while the female pupil was aged 16.

Many times a week, Carlisle Crown Court heard today (MON), Whitehouse kissed and groped the girl over her clothing – often in his locked school study.

On one specific occasion he tried to kiss her on a boat on a lake, prompting her to feign sea sickness to get away.

Whitehouse, now aged 79 and latterly of Seaview, Haverigg, denied a string of indecent assault allegations. He was acquitted of six charges following a trial, but found guilty by a jury of four charges.

Giving evidence, his victim said of the offending: “I didn’t want it to happen. I didn’t agree to it. I didn’t consent. I didn’t feel I could stop it because he was the headmaster.”

Whitehouse’s criminal conduct, she said, made her feel “rotten, awful and disgusting”.

Th court heard Whitehouse had not committed any offences since and had suffered mental health difficulties and ‘personal struggles’.

But he continued to deny that he indecently assaulted the female and had shown, Judge Nicholas Barker noted, “not a moment of remorse”.

Judge Barker jailed Whitehouse for 32 months, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

“Having heard the evidence, having seen documentary evidence, it is clear to me in many ways you ran that school as something of a private fiefdom,” said the judge, “free from proper scrutiny and therefore free to abuse (the female) in the way that you did.”

*Whitehouse received a suspended prison sentence in January for an historical child cruelty crime which pre-dated the indecent assaults.

This was committed during his previous employment at Witherslack School, Grange during the 1970s when – a jury concluded – he made a boy walk barefooted along a rough quarry track, leaving the youngster’s feet cut and bleeding.