Teacher from York jailed for 17 years for raping pupil

A history teacher from York has been jailed for 17 years for the rape of a pupil.

James Husband, 68, from Wigginton, left his victim suffering a “life sentence” of suicidal thoughts and self-harming.

Husband was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday (July 13) after he 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 Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex.

He is the fifth teacher from the school to be convicted of sexually abusing students over a period spanning more than 30 years and involving 22 victims.

‘Twisted my mind’

Sussex Police photograph of James Husband
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 dependant on him for my own feeling of self worth.

Convicted: James Husband

She said that Husband moulded her into his “plaything” and “puppet” so “he could do what he wanted to me”, adding:

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.

The complainant said that the abuse had left her with a “life sentence” of anorexia, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, with the prosecution bringing back flashbacks which were “unbearable”.

Particularly vulnerable

Hove Crown Court. Photograph © Hassocks5489 on Wikipedia

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.”

She added: “The shame will live with him emotionally and socially for life.”

Investigations continue

Yet to be sentenced: Husband’s teaching colleague Gary Dobbie
Husband was formally found not guilty of three other counts of rape against the same victim which were dropped part-way through his trial.

Husband’s co-defendant, Gary Dobbie, who was convicted of abusing eight children as young as 12 over three years, is yet to be sentenced.

During the course of the trial, two more former students came forward with allegations.

Investigations are continuing and so far no charges have been brought.