School pervert is convicted of 9 more sex attacks

Colwyn Baker preyed on vulnerable young boys. Picture: Mike Gunnell
Colwyn Baker preyed on vulnerable young boys. Picture: Mike Gunnell
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A FORMER school worker has been convicted of another nine historic sexual assault offences against young boys.

Colwyn Baker, from Morningside, abused children at the now-defunct Swaylands School in Penshurst, Kent, for 30 years stretching back to 1963.

Jurors are still considering seven other charges against the 71-year-old at Maidstone Crown Court, where they have been deliberating for almost 60 hours.

Baker, from Craighouse Avenue, was found guilty of five indecent assaults on Friday and seven yesterday, when he was also convicted of one rape and one charge of gross indecency with a child.

He has been cleared of four charges. He had denied all the charges against him.

He has been standing trial with former colleagues David Hennessy, 74, of Norfolk, and Nigel Putman, 62, of Berkshire, who also denied all the allegations.

The trio – who are former child care officers at the school – are accused of offences involving 24 boys.

Overall, they have so far been convicted of 17 out of 48 alleged attacks on young victims and cleared of 12.

The men were residential child care officers at Swaylands School, which catered for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties and closed in 1993. The court has heard that one of Baker’s victims became so scared that he often stayed awake at night, sleeping in stairwells to avoid his abuser.

As a result, the boy would often fall asleep in class, causing a dramatic decline in his learning.

And the boy ended up being caned by the headmaster as punishment for dozing off.

Opening the trial at Maidstone Crown Court in February, prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the jury: “The atmosphere at the school at the time that you are considering was one where abuse was almost the norm.

“Children who were abused were positively encouraged to abuse other pupils.

“Abuse and the age of pupils abused led some pupils to consider that there was nothing wrong with abusing other pupils.”

The jury has been told that Baker was convicted in 1994 of four counts of indecent assault on a boy aged under 16 and one count of gross indecency.

newsen@edinburghnews.com