Teacher Admits Abusing More Than 20 Pupils
Keith Cavendish-Coulson, 71, has pleaded guilty to 42 counts of indecently assaulting the boys, who were all aged between eight and 13.
Twenty four of his victims were pupils at Terra Nova, an exclusive preparatory school in Holmes Chapel in Cheshire.
Chester Crown Court heard that Cavendish-Coulson had “favourites” who he would invite to his room for extra tuition. There he would abuse them.
On other occasions the teacher targeted his victims in their dormitories.
One boy described how the teacher would come and sit on his bed after lights out and abuse him while other boys were in the room.
One victim told the court that he was seven when he joined Terra Nova and described it as being “like a prison” where corporal punishment was common.
He said he felt abandoned and lonely and Cavendish-Coulson took advantage of him.
“I was completely unable to stop him,” he said. “I felt frozen and horrified.”
The man described the devastating impact of the abuse on his life and relationships, telling the court he is still receiving counselling and has suffered from depression.
“I am left with a sense that I am worthless. I think of myself as useless, unloveable,” he said.
The court heard that the school was contacted in 1975 by the parents of at least two of the victims after they had been told about the abuse by their sons.
One father wrote: “Mr Coulson has been engaging in criminal sexual acts with minors.
“I am sure that Mr Coulson, by his actions has caused distress to many boys and that it is imperative he be stopped immediately and also that he be prevented from coming into contact with small boys in the future.”
However, when initially questioned by then headmaster Andrew Keith, Cavendish-Coulson denied the allegations.
After further claims were made he was allowed to resign.
Anne Whyte QC told the court that at the time there was a “collective silence”, adding that victims “were let down by the operating professional and social temperature”.
“Those who were in a position to talk to suspected/disclosed victims or to make contact with the police failed to do so,” she said.
“The real reason for the defendant’s dismissal was covered up and parents, staff and pupils alike were told he had left for health reasons.”
Cavendish-Coulson is due to be sentenced on Thursday.