Ex-housemaster guilty of sex abuse

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Published: Tuesday 27th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A former housemaster at a prestigious Catholic private school has been found guilty of sexually abusing pupils.

David Lowe, 61, took advantage of the youngsters as they slept in their dormitory beds and during singing lessons at Westminster Cathedral Choir School.

He targeted 10 victims – who cannot be named for legal reasons – leaving sweets and treats in the lockers of those who were part of his “special group”.

A jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court took nine and a half hours to find Lowe guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault on a boy aged under 14 years old.

Smartly-dressed Lowe stood in the dock and looked straight ahead without any change of expression as each verdict was announced.

Judge Martin Beddoe conditionally bailed Lowe, of Bristol, to next appear at the same court for sentencing on February 5.

This was so that the victims had the chance to come and see him jailed if they wished.

He noted that “for some of those who have had troubled lives since, it might provide some closure and assistance”.

The judge told Lowe, who is now retired from teaching, that it was inevitable that ” you will receive a sentence of imprisonment on the offences on which you now stand convicted.”

The attacks, which took place between 1978 and 1984, were carried out against eight to 13-year-old boys.

Many of his victims studied at the £16,000-a- year choir school, while others were abused at the Benedictine monk-run Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire.

Lowe invited the youngsters to his flat and “spanked” them when they had broken school rules.

He also crept into the vulnerable schoolboys’ dormitory and intimately touched them while carrying out night time checks.

A former pupil told the court he was 10 years old when he was abused.

The inappropriate touching began as “massages” during piano lessons, but Lowe started to slide his hands into his trousers.

In 1981, one of Lowe’s alleged victims complained about being repeatedly abused by him, and shortly afterwards the teacher left the prestigious school, Philip Bennetts QC, prosecuting, told the court.

However, it was not long before he started working at Ampleforth College, where he abused four of his 10 victims.

Jurors heard Lowe had a “small group of pupils that he was extra friendly with”, and even invited a select few to his wedding.

One victim recalled Lowe inviting him to his room at the choir school and asking him to remove his trousers and lie across his lap.

The man told the trial: “He called me upstairs, and I remember thinking ‘here we go again, I am going to get some more of this’.

“I remember he sat me down on the sofa, and he told me to take my pants and trousers off, which I duly did.

“Why I don’t know, but kids do these things I guess.”

The man described how Lowe fondled him for around half an hour, saying what happened in the music rooms had been “like a warm up act”.

Lowe then took the youngster to “buy tuck”.

The victim said: “He pushed me to the front of the queue and he bought me some sweets or something. He leant down and said ‘just remember, that’s our little secret, ok’.”

He said this memory was “crystal clear” and that he saw the gesture as “a sense of adult guilt”.

“I knew that he knew that what we just did upstairs was not part of the school curriculum,” the man added.

Another of Lowe’s victims told police he remembered a time when he was drifting off to sleep in a top bunk in the dormitory when the housemaster struck.

He said: “I remember occasions when, as I was drifting off to sleep, the figure of David Lowe would appear by the bedside and without any conversation a hand would enter the bed and go under the cover, and would find its way to the private parts of my body, and would fumble around for a minute or two, I would expect.

“And then it would stop and the figure would disappear into the darkness.”

One of Lowe’s victims was only prompted to come forward after he received an email from the former teacher last year, after he had already been charged with a number of indecent assaults.

The man told police: “There was only one reason why this man would get in touch with me.

“It’s not because he wanted to meet up and have a coffee and chat about life. It was because something had happened to him.

“He was the man that had abused not only me, but a number of pupils at the choir school.”

The man said that Lowe “seemed to take any opportunity when he was on duty at night to be able to touch the boys under the duvet”.

Published: Tuesday 27th January 2015 by The News Editor

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