Teacher jailed for abusing pupils

A teacher at one of the country's most prestigious public schools has been jailed for 11 years after he was found guilty of sexually abusing five young boys.

Bruce Roth, who taught maths at £30,000-a-year Wellington College, groomed and performed sex acts on three boys at the boarding school and two at King's School in Rochester, Kent, where he taught previously.

Roth strenuously denied the 17 charges against him, accusing his victims of conspiring against him because they did not like him as a teacher. He remained impassive in the dock, apart from occasionally shaking his head, as the jury at Reading Crown Court returned guilty verdicts on all counts.

The trial heard that two complaints were made against Roth over claims that he sexually touched one boy and repeatedly abused another, both aged between eight and 10, while an assistant housemaster at King's School between 1987 and 1994.

After an internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing, he left the school and went to Wellington, where he taught until his arrest in 2010. The Wellington victims were teenagers, some from vulnerable backgrounds. In each case there was a clear progression from grooming through to sexual touching and performing sex acts on the boys.

Judge Simon Davis described Roth as a "plausible, intelligent man", who was capable of being highly manipulative.

His behaviour at the college in Crowthorne might have been shaped by his being exonerated of wrongdoing at the previous school in Kent, the judge said.

"You have impressed some schoolboys, some parents, some teachers in high and influential positions, who are all convinced you are a good, kind and pastoral teacher, a professional man," he said.

Judge Davis attacked Roth for what he said were attempts to character-assassinate his victims in what he said was a "sad and dreadful case".

"In the face of clear evidence from all five complainants, you maintained first to the police and then to this court that each and every one of the allegations of which you have been convicted were fabricated," he said. "You were not able to deceive this jury."