Former Blackburn teacher found guilty of sex assaults on three pupils

This Is Lancashire: John Mead John Mead

A FORMER QEGS teacher has been found guilty of abusing boys on school trips to youth hostels.

It took a jury two hours 30 minutes to convict 76-year-old John Mead of four counts of indecently assaulting three pupils at the Blackburn school during the 1970s.

He has now been warned by a judge that he faces being sent to prison.

Speaking after the hearing, one of his victims, who is now in his 50s, said he could now find 'closure' more than 40 years after suffering the abuse.

He said: "I feel like I have exorcised some demons.

"People like Mead are predatory and if they can find someone who is vulnerable, they are going to go for them."

Former physics and maths teacher Mead, from Sabden, had a 'sinister motive' for organising the excursions to places including the Lake District for young boys, the court was told.

During one of the trips, the jury heard how he got into bed with a pupil who was sleeping in a single room before reaching over him and touching him inappropriately.

Another man was assaulted by Mead, of Timbrills Avenue, during a game of 'monsters in the dark' in which his teacher grabbed him, pulled him onto the bed and groped him.

And a third complainant was indecently assaulted on multiple occasions when Mead got into the shower with him during the trips.

He said he could never have told anyone before because his life 'would have been made a misery'.

After the verdict, he said: “I just could not believe what was happening. I was terrified. I was disgusted.

“But I just let it happen, I just froze.

“This is what I have never been able to come to terms with.

“There was no way I could tell anybody. My friends would have just ripped into me. I would have been a laughing stock.”

The court was told by other witnesses how Mead behaved in other ‘wholly inappropriate’ ways such as encouraging boys to have urinating competitions, arranging for the youngsters to play strip poker and making them talk about sexual matters.

Summing up the evidence from one of the victims, Judge Christopher Cornwall, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said the abuse had been ‘seared’ into the complainant’s memory.

He told the jury the victim had said: “I was shocked, surprised and confused.

“I felt as if in some way, it was my fault. I thought it was shameful and as if I had done something wrong.

“As a child, you trust people in authority. I was aware that something wrong had happened.”

And the judge said another of the victims said he was unable to tell anybody about what happened to him.

The victim had said: “It stays with you permanently.

“Part of you does not move on. It stays back there in that dark and stagnant place.

“My memory is not impaired by the passage of 43 years. When the experience is so intense, the memory is intense and permanent. I am still living with the effects.”

Married father-of-three Mead, who suffers from myalgic encephalomyelitis, which is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, has now been bailed to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Medical tests will also be carried out and the victims will be given the opportunity to prepare personal impact statements.

The jury cleared Mead of two further charges of indecent assault.

Judge Cornwall warned the defendant that did not mean he would avoid a prison sentence.

He told Mead: “You have been convicted by the jury, rightly in my judgement, in relation to four counts.

“Please be under no illusions - the mere fact that 40 years has passed does not in any sense diminish the serious note of that what you did to these complainants.

“By the reason of your convictions, you have been found to be in gross breach of the trust of those boys and their parents.

“I see no alternative to an immediate custodial sentence.”

Mead had maintained he was innocent throughout the entire five day trial, claiming the victims’ accusations were ‘fantasy’.

He has now been placed on the sexual offenders register and it will be determined on July 25 how long he must remain on it.

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