Edinburgh man charged with school sex offences

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A RETIRED Edinburgh teacher has been linked to child sex abuse allegations.

Colwyn Baker, 70, from Morningside, has been accused of sexually abusing boys at a school for vulnerable children in Kent between 1967 and 1993.

Two other men, also believed to be former teachers, also face charges.

Last night, Kent Police said Baker faces 29 counts of indecent assault and five charges of buggery.

A police spokesman said: “These charges follow a lengthy and complex investigation.”

In total, the three men were charged with 53 counts of sex abuse yesterday.

David Hennessy, 73, of Kings Lynn, Norfolk, was charged with 16 counts of indecent assault.

Nigel Putman, 61, of Slough, Berkshire, was charged with three counts of indecent assault.

The trio were alleged to have sexually abused boys at Swaylands School, in Penshurst, a village west of Tonbridge.

Baker was arrested last year on suspicion of carrying out the assaults.

The school for “awkward boys” in a sprawling listed building, was closed in the mid-1990s amid allegations some of its pupils aged between seven and 19 were treated cruelly.

The building has since been sold to developers.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said the charges follow “a lengthy and complex investigation where multiple victims were identified”.

The nationwide police investigation was launched after complaints were made to police by former schoolboys.

The probe has been carried out in partnership with the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac).

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the charity organisation, said the body is working closely with all agencies involved.

He said: “Investigations are important in bringing offenders before the courts. The impact on victims can have lasting effects throughout their lives. Napac is working with Kent Police to address the fears and concerns of those victims.”

Swaylands School was set up in 1942 and was operated and managed by the London borough of Barnet between the mid 1960s and 1994.

Pupils with learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties were placed there by local authorities from across the capital and the south-east of England.

The accused are due to appear at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court next month.