Joseph Thomas Birtles sentenced to seven years imprisonment at the Old Bailey for sexual assaults on his pupils

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Siobhán Crawford

Joseph Thomas Birtles was today sentenced to seven years imprisonment following his conviction on the 6th June 2014 of 11 counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency.

Birtles, 81, was a teacher at Kensington Avenue Primary School in the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst a schoolmaster at the school he abused his position and assaulted at least seven boys aged between eight and 12. Birtles would abuse male pupils in his classroom and in the school library, which one victim described as his “kingdom”. Despite repeated disclosure of the abuse at the time by pupils, teachers and the headmaster at the school failed to report Birtles to the police.

In his sentencing remarks, His Honour Judge Worsley QC stated that the school “hushed up” the abuse. He went on to state that the assaults were a “flagrant abuse of trust”. He described Birtles as, at the time, an “arrogant predator” who despite brushes with discovery continued to abuse children in his care regardless of the consequences.

Taking in to account the recent case of R v Stuart Hall His Honour Judge Worsley QC sentenced Birtles to seven years imprisonment and he will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register upon his release.

If you have been a victim of Birtles, or a school teacher and would like free and confidential advice please contact Siobhan Crawford on 0207 288 4886 or at


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