Witness tells court reason for not reporting alleged abuse by Blackburn teacher

John Mead is accused of sex offences while working as a teacher at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School

John Mead is accused of sex offences while working as a teacher at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A FORMER pupil at a private school has told a court he could not tell anyone about the abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of a teacher because his life would have been made ‘a misery’.

He described how when he was on residential trips to youth hostels organised by physics and music teacher John Mead, 76, as a student at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, in the 1970s, the tutor would join him in the showers and touch him inappropriately.

Mead denies six counts of indecent assault against three boys.

The abuse is alleged to have happened on separate trips to youth hostels.

The complainant told the court this happened on more than one occasion, leaving him feeling ‘sickened’.

But he was not able to make a complaint because he was worried about the reaction he would get, the witness said.

He told Preston Crown Court: “There was no way I wanted to tell anyone at the school what had gone on.

“If it had become common knowledge, then my life would have been made a misery.”

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he could not even tell his most trusted friends about the assaults.

It was not until around 2000 that he came forward.

The witness was asked if Mead, of Timbrills Avenue, Sabden, was one of the ‘more quiet members of staff’ at QEGS, but he said he could not remember.

At the time of the alleged abuse of one of the complainants, he was engaged to be married and was buying a house, the jury heard.

But the prosecution alleged he had a ‘sinister motive’ for organising trips to youth hostels.

Another of the alleged victims, who is now in his 50s, told the jury he came forward years later over concerns Mead might still be a teacher.

He told the court: “I had been having counselling, psychotherapy, at that point. One of the issues was the effect of the trauma, the abuse.

“I made that statement because I believed there was still a chance Mead could still be practicing and therefore that it was very likely or almost inevitable other children would be in a position to be abused.”

An earlier hearing was told Mead got into bed with the complainant and touched him inappropriately.

A third alleged victim complained he was indecently assaulted during a game of ‘monsters in the dark’. He told the jury: “I was grabbed by Mr Mead and pulled into his bed.

“I was facing away from him. He thrust his hand down inside my pyjamas.”

He described how the abuse went on for around one minute.

The complainant continued: “I was shocked, surprised, probably confused more than anything.

“I felt as if in some way it was my fault. I felt that it was shameful, that I was partly to blame and that I had done something wrong. I did not feel like sharing that with anybody.

“As a child, you trust people in authority.

“I was aware something wrong had happened and because you trust the person in authority, you feel as if it is something that you have done that caused the incident.”

(Proceeding)

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