I found out my former headteacher is a paedophile

He was always one of my favourite teachers

I never thought I would be in a situation where I’d discover a former teacher is now a registered sex offender. Certainly not my old headteacher, someone I looked up to as a child. Someone my parents trusted with my safety.

We read about this type of thing in the news every day, but it always seems so distant. Surely there was a tell-tale sign? They must have known. I found out that my primary school headteacher had been found guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl. And it took me completely by surprise.

This week David Brinded, now 73, was found guilty of molesting a pupil more than 40 years ago. He was convicted of one count involving sexual activity in the classroom. He is yet to be sentenced but has been told to expect jail time.

The incident took place at another school, and it actually happened well before I was even born, meaning he had already committed the act before he taught my friends and me.

To think that someone I trusted, even idolised, as a child has been found to have sexually assaulted another child is horrific. I knew him as an 11-year-old, the age of the victim at the time. What’s even worse is he was able to continue teaching, become headteacher of multiple schools and be on the board of education too.

I first heard of him being found guilty when on the phone to my family. My brother announced he saw it on Twitter, and we were all as shocked as each other. Practically in disbelief, I then shared a news article on my Facebook as many others did. No one could quite believe it. The general consensus was that he always seemed so nice and was so well respected. When he spoke, we listened. How could he have done something like this?

The author's primary school in Essex. This is not the school where the sexual assault took place

The author’s primary school in Essex. This is not the school where the sexual assault took place

The man was most definitely admired. People always said how genuine and decent he was. I remember him always smiling and being so nice. Even when I was leaving the school to go to another, where coincidentally his wife was the headteacher, he was still consistently friendly.

To hear he is now guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old schoolgirl is awful. He denied the allegations, but that almost makes it worse as it’s like he doesn’t see what he did was wrong. During the case it says he put his hand up the girl’s skirt on more than one occasion during lessons and followed her into a cupboard where she left crying. It’s disgusting.

The court also heard he used to push his groin into several student’s necks. If this happened in one school what’s to say it didn’t in others? What if there were more victims?

From my memories of him he always was such a kind man. All the parents thought it, and even when moving to another school everyone had nothing but respect for him. At the school that his wife was headmistress at, I remember him coaching cricket to many of the pupils. No one thought he was wrong and actually just assumed he was a really nice person to be giving up his free time, for no payment, to be teaching kids cricket.

Maybe he had changed by then. It was over 30 years later but the thought that what he did in his past is a sick reality. Why was he allowed to continue teaching? Why was nothing ever done before? This has changed the memories of my schooldays forever.