Wellington College teacher Bruce Roth guilty of sex abuse of five boys

 

A teacher at one of the country's most prestigious public schools has been found guilty of sexually abusing five young boys.

Bruce Roth, who taught maths at £30,000-a-year Wellington College until he was arrested, 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 and calling one of them "sinister".

He remained impassive in the dock, apart from occasionally shaking his head, as the jury of six men and six women at Reading Crown Court returned their guilty verdicts on all counts after just over 18 hours of deliberation.

A woman in the public gallery burst into tears as they were read out.

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.

But the accusations were dropped - the second time following an internal investigation. He left the school and went to Wellington, where he taught until 2010.

Wellington College counts broadcaster Peter Snow, comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner, pop star Will Young and journalist and author Sebastian Faulks among its alumni.

Roth was jailed for a total of 11 years.

Two of Roth's victims were just eight when they were abused at King's School.

The Wellington victims were teenagers, some from vulnerable backgrounds. One tried to commit suicide because of Roth's attacks.

In each case there was a clear progression from grooming though 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 may 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 added.

"You have a number of other sides to your character besides those.

"I find you do have an interest in young boys/men in their adolescent years. A worrying facet in these proceedings."

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.

"Your choice, namely to contest the case, meant that every individual complainant came to this court to relive the events to which you had subjected them over the past 20 years or so.

"As the law presently stands I am not able to penalise you for putting those witnesses through the ordeal of giving evidence.

"For some it was evident to me that it was more of a horrendous experience than others."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'