Former Christ’s Hospital teacher sentenced for sex offences

Peter Webb. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Peter Webb. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

A former teacher at Christ’s Hospital School near Horsham has been sentenced for historic sex offences against young boys.

Peter Webb, 75, of Kennedy Road, Dane End, Ware, Hertfordshire, was sentenced to a total of four years imprisonment when he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Friday (December 15) for a series of sexual offences against four boys.

Webb – a former woodwork teacher and housemaster at Christ’s Hospital School – previously pleaded guilty to eleven offences of indecent assault when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court, sitting in Brighton, on October 12, 2017.

The court heard how one boy was assaulted three times, another on two occasions, the third on five occasions and the fourth on one occasion.

Webb pleaded not guilty to another alleged incident against a fifth boy which the court ordered to remain on court file.

Webb had previously been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, in April 2015, after pleading guilty to three offences of historic indecent assault against another boy.

On Friday, the court heard statements from three of the four victims who outlined the affect Webb’s abuse has had on their lives.

One of the victims said he had kept quiet until another victim contacted Sussex Police, in November 2016, inspiring him to come forward ‘to ensure nobody else experiences the same level of abuse’.

Defending, Simon Ray argued Webb’s decision to remove himself from being in contact with children or young boys as soon as he left Christ’s Hospital School should have accounted for a lesser sentence.

He said: “Webb resigned from the school in 1984 and decided to abandon his career in teaching and, instead, chose to withdraw all contact completely to pursue a career in joinery.

“He took all the practical steps he could after leaving the school to prevent being a risk to children and young boys in particular.

“There have been no previous convictions recorded against him since leaving the school in 1984.”

Judge Christine Henson QC refused to accept this and argued that Webb missed an opportunity to plead guilty to all offences when he was convicted for separate incidents in 2015.

In passing her sentence, she said: “You had the opportunity to wipe the slate clean in 2015 but you didn’t and now you are the author of your present situation.

“I have read the impact your abusing has had on the lives of these four people. Their lives will be affected forever because of your offending.”

Webb was sentenced to two years and sixth months’ imprisonment for the first five offences to run consecutively with the 18 month sentence for the remaining six offences. In all, Webb was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and is now a registered sex offender for life.

He will serve half his sentence in custody and half on licence.

He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court order, severely restricting his access to young people.

Sussex Police had full co-operation from management at the school during both investigations, according to a police spokesman.