April 2021

Three men jailed for sexually abusing girl

A teacher is one of three men to have been jailed for sexually abusing a girl in unconnected incidents 20 years ago.

Mark Craster-Chambers, 54, kissed and engaged in sexual acts with the girl when she was a 16-year-old pupil, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The girl had previously been sexually abused when she was by 13 by Gordon Holliday, 60, and taxi driver Carl Morgan Donnelly, 63.

All three were found guilty of offences against the girl.

The court heard that for many years the victim did not realise what had happened was abuse and only reported it to police recently.

Craster-Chambers, of Preston on Stour, near Stratford-upon-Avon, was found guilty of engaging in sexual activity while in a position of trust, Donnelly, of The Ferns, Egremont, was convicted of three indecent assault charges and Holliday, of Howbank Road, Egremont, of one indecent assault.

“My whole life has been tainted by their actions,” the woman – who attended their sentencing hearing – said in a statement read in court by a detective.

She said: “I feel they have robbed me of the remaining years of my childhood, of my education and possible future.”

Of Craster-Chambers, she added: “He was my teacher; he should have known better. Because of him I have spent my whole life anxious around people in positions of trust like doctors, therapists and even in job interviews. I hope he never gets to look after vulnerable children again.”

Recorder Richard Archer jailed Donnelly for six years, Holliday for 42 months and Craster-Chambers for 18 months.

To Craster-Chambers, who rose to the position of deputy head during 26 years in a teaching profession he left in 2016, Recorder Archer said: “You knew full well, in light of the high professional regard in which you were otherwise held, what the law was and why it existed. You broke that law and broke her trust.”

All three men must sign the sex offenders’ register and will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.