Kung Fu teacher jailed for sexual assaults

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A kung fu teacher was today jailed for 18 months after sexually assaulting two young girls in anti-rape classes.

Peter Channell, 60, singled the students - aged just nine and 11 - out for special treatment.

He told the girls' relatives he wanted them to come to the club for one-on-one tuition which would normally cost £250.

But he would do it for free.

The paedophile arranged the sessions when no one would be there during the weekend of March 8 2008.

He partly undressed the girls, kissed their necks and forced them to touch him.

He forced one girl to take off her bra and touched her chest, at the Lee Shan Kung Fu Club, in Waterloo, Merseyside.

That would happen "for real" when an attacker struck, he told the schoolgirls.

But he also tried to get one victim to carry out moves naked.

Today, Channell, of Handfield Road, Waterloo, Merseyside, was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court.

During a nine-day trial in November he was unanimously convicted of two counts of sexual assault and two of inciting children into sexual activity by touching his groin.

Approximately 180 letters of support were sent to his barrister Teresa Loftus, who described the defendant as a "broken man".

In mitigation she told the court Channell was a man of previously exemplary character who had already suffered hugely because of the stress his family were under.

But Judge John Phipps rejected a plea for a suspended sentence, saying: "You are before the courts today not as an innocent man, but a guilty man.

"I think you understand that - let there be no doubt about it.

"You sexually assaulted two young girls who were entrusted into your care."

He added: "You set up the weekend in order to abuse these girls.

"You prepared the ground and covered your intentions in the guise of a legitimate kung-fu course.

"The jury found that is what you did, and of that I am quite satisfied.

"You prepared the ground so assiduously."

He added: "You were a respected businessman in the local community.

"The club was respectable and well run, providing a valuable service.

"But there is a difference between a respectable, well-run club when everyone is there and a well-run club when the only people there are you and a little girl."

Victim impact statements read to the court showed the first victim - attacked on Saturday March 8 - felt guilty she did not report the attack immediately, possibly preventing the attack on the second girl the day after.

During Channell's trial a woman came forward claiming he attacked her in a similar way in 1977. She made a formal complaint to the police in the 1990s but there was insufficient evidence.

Chappell has signed the sex offenders' register.

Today he was also given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from teaching under 16s without a qualified instructor, and banned from one-to-one training sessions without supervision.