December 2019

Ex-teacher abused young girls

AN ex-PE teacher, who abused under-age girls from his school, is facing jail.

Geoffrey Openshaw, who taught at Darwen Vale, systematically groomed five youngsters, at different times, between 1979 and 1990, Preston Crown Court was told.

The perverted tutor, who then lived nearby in Blackburn, would buy underwear and chocolates for some of the youngsters and would take them for weekends away, the court heard.

One of the girls, aged only 12 or 13, was lashed to a bed with his tie so Openshaw could molest her.

Some of the abuse, with the five girls, happened at his home, while other sexual acts took place in his office, above the school gym.

Openshaw, now 73 and living in Out Rawcliffe, near Preston, has pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault offences concerning the five victims.

He will be sentenced today by Judge Robert Altham after being remanded in custody last night.

In statements read out to the court the victims, some now in their 50s, spoke of how he had “brainwashed” and “manipulated” them for his own sexual desires.

Prosecutor Paul Brookwell said Openshaw was aged between 35 and 46 when the sexual abuse occurred. He was regarded as a popular teacher who would often put his arms around students.

His youngest victim was lured into a relationship when Openshaw asked her to babysit for him, the court heard.

Mr Brookwell said he offered her pizza then gave her alcohol.

Later she was handed presents, such as necklaces and handbags.

The victim said his behaviour had destroyed her faith in others and affected the way she had raised her own children.

Another victim, then 14, was groomed after she joined one of his after-school clubs.

He groped her and involved her in sex acts in his office, the court heard.

Mr Brookwell said it appeared as though Openshaw was attempting to instruct the girl on how he liked to be sexually pleasured.

He arranged to meet his third victim via a call box near her home.

Openshaw used the school camcorder to videotape sex between them, unknown to her.

Her parents became suspicious and found a box containing notes he had penned to the girl. When her father reported the matter to the school, it prompted a rift between the girl and her parents which took years to heal, the court heard.