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Rapist ex-Bedgebury School teacher faces prison

By KentOnline reporter

A teacher who raped a pupil at a girls' boarding school in the late 1970s is facing jail.

John Aldridge, 66, was a maths teacher at Bedgebury School near Cranbrook when he sexually abused the girl during visits to his flat.

The headteacher became concerned about Aldridge's behaviour but he claimed he was simply tutoring her, a court heard.

Bedgebury school. Picture John Wardley Provider: Staff Stock (2398189)
Bedgebury school. Picture John Wardley Provider: Staff Stock (2398189)

However, he eventually confessed to having sex with the teenager and was sacked.

It was not until many years later that his victim reported him to police and Aldridge, of King Street, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, was arrested.

He denied rape but was convicted by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court.

The retired teacher was released on bail but warned by Judge David Griffith-Jones QC he faces prison when he returns to be sentenced on June 8.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Paul Valder told the court the victim reported Aldridge to police many years later and after the death of her parents.

“As time passed, she struggled about what happened to her and it had a profound effect on her daily life,” he said.

She told officers Aldridge invited her to his flat and kissed her. He later undressed her, touched her and forced himself on her.

“She didn’t like it, but he kept on,” Mr Valder told the jury.

“She told an officer he raped her and took her virginity. Despite that, she went back to his flat regularly.

“He would stroke her arm and tell her how pretty she was.

"He made her believe they were actually in a relationship and in due course they would live together.

It seems she went to him for comfort. She felt safe in his flat. You may think she was in his thrall."

Mr Valder said Aldridge was later sacked and his victim felt humiliated.

The boarding school closed after 81 years in 2006 but after the rape was reported to police, the headmaster at the time was interviewed.

He said it came to his attention the girl was a regular visitor to Aldridge’s flat but he maintained he was merely helping her with her maths.

The head said the girl was not to go there again, but he heard the visits continued.

Aldridge was spoken to again and this time he admitted having sex with the girl.

The headteacher then consulted the school governors and it was decided that Aldridge should leave.

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