Former teacher jailed for historic sex offences at Sussex school

Martin Haigh 67, unemployed, of Lavender St, Brighton, was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on Friday  (March 24) SUS-170324-141232001
Martin Haigh 67, unemployed, of Lavender St, Brighton, was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on Friday (March 24) SUS-170324-141232001

A former teacher has been jailed for 12 years for abusing pupils at a East Sussex school in the 1970s, Sussex Police say.

Martin Haigh, 67, unemployed, of Lavender Street, Brighton, was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court on Friday (March 24) after a four-day trial on charges of offences against two of the boys, police say.

He was convicted the previous day on three counts of gross indecency and one count of indecent assault against two former pupils of Ashdown House School, an independent preparatory boarding school near Forest Row.

The offences took place between 1973 and 1975, while Haigh was a teacher at the school.

Police emphasise that there are no current or recent safeguarding issues at the school in relation to this case.

At a previous hearing before the trial, police say, Haigh had admitted to seven other offences – three of gross indecency and four of indecent assault – against two other boys at the school during the same period.

He also admitted an offence of possessing indecent images of children, which police say was found on a computer at his address when officers searched it in 2015. Police believe the abuse images were taken from the Internet as there is no evidence that they were children known to him.

Haigh was sentenced to a total of 11 years for the sexual offences and an additional one year for the possession of indecent images. He will also be a registered sex offender for life and has been served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), which severely restricts his access to children and computers.

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by East Sussex child safeguarding detectives after allegations were referred to them for the first time in January 2014.

Detective Constable Paul Deadman said: “This was a complex and protracted investigation, during which it became clear that Haigh had systematically taken advantage of the trust of young and vulnerable boys to abuse them for his own sexual gratification.”

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