Top private school teacher jailed for 17 years for raping pupil as colleague found guilty of abusing eight students

David Harding
·Contributor
Christ’s Hospital School Gary Dobbie (left) and James Husband. Husband was jailed for 17 years and is the fifth Christ’s Hospital School teacher to be convicted of sexually abusing students over a period spanning more than 30 years. (PA)
Christ’s Hospital School Gary Dobbie (left) and James Husband. Husband was jailed for 17 years and is the fifth Christ’s Hospital School teacher to be convicted of sexually abusing students over a period spanning more than 30 years. (PA)

A history teacher at a top private school has been jailed for 17 years for raping one of his pupils, leaving her suffering a ‘life sentence’ of suicidal thoughts and self-harming.

James Husband is the fifth Christ’s Hospital School teacher to be convicted of sexually abusing students over a period spanning more than 30 years and involving 22 victims.

Husband’s co-defendant Gary Dobbie, who was convicted of abusing eight children as young as 12 over three years will be sentenced at a later date.

The 68-year-old, of Wigginton in York, was convicted of one count of rape and five of indecently assaulting a girl as young as 14 between 1990 and 1993 while he was teaching at the prestigious West Sussex school.

Husband, known by his middle name Andrew, told the 16-year-old before the attack: ‘It’s OK, I’ve had a vasectomy.’

Placing Husband on the sex offenders’ register for life and banning him from working with children, Judge Christine Henson QC said that the victim had given ‘harrowing’ evidence in the trial at Hove Crown Court.

She told Husband: ‘You put yourself in the position of her mentor in order to make her feel special and dependent on you so you could do what you wanted sexually with her.

‘She viewed you as a father figure, thus rendering the abuse of trust particularly acute.’

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the complainant described how she had seen Husband as a ‘mentor and father figure’.

She said: ‘The grooming process was devious and malignant by making me feel special for the first time in my life, I became dependent on him for my own feeling of self worth.’

She said that Husband molded her into his ‘plaything’ so ‘he could do what he wanted to me’.

She continued: ‘He twisted my mind to abuse my body and made my body feel dirty and degraded until I believed this to be true.’

She said she had been offered a place at Cambridge but had failed to reach the grades because she had been ‘worn down’ by his abuse.

Christ’s Hospital School headmaster Simon Reid (PA)
Christ’s Hospital School headmaster Simon Reid (PA)

Eloise Marshall, prosecuting, said that Husband targeted the victim as a “particularly vulnerable and intelligent pupil”.

She said: ‘She was a great pupil capable of achieving great things. He lifted her out of the ordinary, giving him the opportunity to sexually assault her.’

Charlotte Newell, defending, said: ‘He was a great teacher, inspirational to very many students who he taught over very many years, he inspired many students to aim high in their academic aspirations.’

During the course of the trial. two more former students came forward with allegations which are being investigated.

Teachers Peter Webb and Peter Burr were both jailed in the last year after admitting offences at the school between the 1960s and 1980s.

Sports coach Ajaz Karim – who went on to teach at Eton College and Queen’s – was found guilty in April of assaulting six girls between 1985 and 1993 and is due to be sentenced in August.