Former Chichester school worker jailed for indecent assault on teenage boy

David Gutteridge was sentenced on Wednesday
David Gutteridge was sentenced on Wednesday

A FORMER teacher who worked at two schools in Chichester as well as the cathedral has been jailed for 18 months for indecently assaulting a teenage boy in Harrow in the 1980s.

David Gutteridge was sentenced on Wednesday at Harrow Crown Court after earlier being found guilty by a jury of two counts of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 16.

I would like to pay tribute to his courage and strength in coming forward

DC Claire Harrison

The court heard the offences took place during the 1980s after Gutteridge plied the victim with alcohol and cigarettes.

Gutteridge was a former employee at Prebendal School and Bishop Luffa School, both in Chichester, and was a former secretary of the Chichester Cathedral Choristers’ Association.

However, there is no indication that any offences took place in Chichester.

Gutteridge, 60, formerly of the High Street, Chatham, was convicted following a retrial.

During his trial, the jury was told he made the boy watch pornographic films before abusing him.

At the time of the offences, he was a teacher at Orley Farm Preparatory School in Harrow, north west London.

Gutteridge would invite the boy to his flat at weekends when he was aged between 14 and 16.

The abuse came to light when the victim, now in his late 30s, confided in his wife and decided to contact police.

Gutteridge was arrested in September, 2013, at his home in Chatham and subsequently charged with the two counts of indecent assault.

DC Claire Harrison, from the Metropolitan Police who led the investigation, said: “The victim has stated that the abuse has had a significant detrimental effect on his life due to what happened to him in his formative years.

“I would like to pay tribute to his courage and strength in coming forward and standing up in court to tell his story.”

Gutteridge’s first trial, which took place in September last year, resulted in a hung jury.

His retrial started at the beginning of last month and he was found guilty on Tuesday, February 24.

A joint statement posted on the Chichester Cathedral website on behalf of the Bishop of Chichester, Cathedral Chapter, Prebendal and Bishop Luffa schools confirmed Gutteridge had been a former employee at all three.

Confirming he was a former secretary of the Chichester Cathedral Choristers’ Association, it said: “Mr Gutteridge was employed at Prebendal School from 1976 to 1983, and at Bishop Luffa School from 1993 until 2000.

“The Bishop of Chichester, the Cathedral Chapter, and the headmasters of both schools believe it is important to acknowledge that a man who is now convicted of child sexual offences had a significant connection to these institutions.

“Anyone with any questions or concerns arising from this matter is invited to speak to a member of the safeguarding department of the Diocese of Chichester, to Nick Taunt, headmaster at Bishop Luffa School, or to Tim Cannell, headmaster at Prebendal School.”

Anyone who has any concerns about any similar offences which might have happened in Sussex, can contact Sussex Police via 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting serial number 926 of 09/03/15.