‘Perverted and sadistic’ deputy headteacher given 19-year extended sentence

A former deputy headteacher who made a “career of being perverted and sadistic” has been given a 19-year extended sentence.

Grahame Brennand, 71, indecently assaulted 22 girls and inflicted cruelty on two boys between 1973 and 1989 while he taught at St John’s Primary School in Baxenden, Lancashire.

Brennand was convicted of the offences following two separate trials at Preston Crown Court and will serve at least half of 16 years in custody before an extended licence period of three years on release.

Sentencing him, Judge Philip Parry told the defendant: “Over that 16-year period you systematically and brazenly sexually abused young girls and you beat, humiliated and demeaned young boys.

“You showered your favourite female pupils with praise and attention before and no doubt in order to sexually abuse them – we would call that grooming now.

“And you assaulted and ill-treated young boys, treating them with contempt, and subjected them to humiliation and violence often in front of the rest of the class, adding to their sense of humiliation and helplessness.

“You have now been found by two separate juries to have made a career of being perverted and sadistic, almost in equal measure.”

The court had heard the “arrogant” strict disciplinarian mainly wore sports clothing as he abused his victims in the classroom, often in plain sight but away from the gaze of colleagues as he covered the windows and door of his class with sugar paper.

Among his methods was to lean over the desks of pupils and press his groin into their back, while on other occasions girls were required to stand in front of him or to sit on his knee where he would take the opportunity to fondle them.

Brennand also created situations outside of the classroom to commit his abuse – on his canal boat, during swimming lessons and at a first aid club he started which required girls to wear gym clothes.

His teaching career ended in 1989 when similar claims between 1981 and 1988 involving girls at St John’s were made and he went on trial at Liverpool Crown Court where he was convicted of three out of five allegations.

However, the convictions were overturned when the Court of Appeal ruled the 1981 offences ought to have been tried separately and Brennand was never retried.

Judge Parry noted that Brennand must have felt “untouchable” as he served under two headteachers who “appeared completely ineffective” in stopping his offending as complainants were fobbed off.

One pupil was chastised for daring to challenge a senior and “well respected” member of staff.

One of his victims in the current court case did report her abuse in 2013 and gave a statement to police but the allegations were not pursued as Judge Parry said he still had not been provided with any explanation from the police or Crown Prosecution Service about that decision.

The judge told Brennand: “Relieving those traumatic experiences as part of the investigation and in the courtroom came at a price for many. The court witnessed grown men and women weeping openly as they relived their experience at your hands.

“You have materially affected the lives of so many of your former pupils for whom you were responsible as their teacher. Relationships and marriages have broken down because of you. You have damaged the mental health of most, if not all of your victims.”

Brennand, of Calder Avenue, Freckleton, Preston, was impassive throughout the sentencing hearing.