Ex-headmaster loses abuse appeal
1:55pm Tuesday 5th August 2014 in © Press Association 2014
A former headteacher at the prep school attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has lost a bid to overturn his conviction for abusing boys at the school.
Roland Wright, now 84, who taught at Caldicott Boys' Preparatory School in Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, assaulted five pupils aged between eight and 13 between 1959 and 1970.
His conviction challenge was thrown out by three leading judges at the Court of Appeal in London today.
Wright - who watched the proceedings via video link from prison - also failed to win a cut in his "manifestly excessive" eight-year jail sentence, imposed at A mersham Crown Court in February.
Mr Clegg, who was joint head boy at Caldicott in 1980, spoke of his horror after Wright was convicted in December of 10 counts of indecent assault on a male and two of indecency with a child.
He told The Times he was ''shocked and appalled by the gross betrayal and violation of childhood innocence shown to have taken place''.
It was argued on Wright's behalf at the appeal court that the trial judge was wrong to have admitted bad character evidence, and that the sentence he received was too long in the light of his age and state of health.
But both arguments were rejected by Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Bean and Mr Justice Foskett.
Mr Justice Bean, announcing the judges' decision, said the court agreed "entirely" with the ruling of the Crown Court judge to admit the bad character evidence.
On sentence he said: "If the defendant had been younger and in better health a significantly longer sentence than eight years would have been justified.
"In our view the final figure of eight years made proper allowance for the defendant's age and the state of his health."
When sentencing Wright, Judge Joanna Cutts told him: " I have to sentence you for multiple offending against each of these victims. This was prolonged activity, the boys were groomed by a master at a school responsible for their care.''