Teacher suspected of school sex assaults found dead (14.06.11)

East Anglian Daily Times, 14th June 2011

by Colin Adwent

A TEACHER arrested in February on suspicion of sex assaults on pupils at the former St George’s School in Great Finborough in the 1980s has been found dead.

Alan Williams’ body was discovered at his home in Stowupland Street, Stowmarket, eight days after detectives investigating the allegations extended his police bail.

The 59-year-old – who was employed as a music teacher at Ashfold School in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, at the time of his arrest on February 5 – had worked at St George’s school at the time of the allegations.

Last September, St George’s former headteacher Derek Slade was jailed for a total of 21 years after being convicted of more than 50 offences including child sex abuse, beatings and child pornography.

St Georges School in Great Finborough

St Georges School in Great Finborough

A long-running inquiry into complaints of sexual abuse made by ex-pupils of the school continued after Slade’s imprisonment following his trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Williams was arrested after it is understood former pupils at the private school, which taught children of military personnel, made allegations against him. However, the number of pupils who made allegations is not known.

Although Suffolk police have not released Williams’ name, they have confirmed officers were called to his home after a relative found a deceased male at the address.

An inquest will be held at a later date to determine the cause of death.

Lisa McGrann, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “Police were called to Stowupland Street in Stowmarket at 10.43am on Friday, June 10, by a woman concerned for the welfare of a family member who she had been unable to contact.

“Officers forced entry to a house and a 59-year-old man was found deceased.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and the coroner has been informed.”

Williams was due to answer bail on Monday last week, however he was re-bailed the previous Thursday. He was then due to answer his police bail by returning to the new Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre on July 12.

His former headteacher Derek Slade, now in his early 60s, abused 12 boys at the school, which was based at Wicklewood, near Wymondham, Norfolk, and Great Finborough between 1978 and 1983. The victims were aged between eight and 13 at the time.

Slade, of Burton-on-Trent, had admitted 15 indecent assaults and five assaults on boys, along with 17 child porn offences involving 4,486 indecent images.

He also admitted possessing a false passport. At his trial, he was found guilty of three offences of buggery, four other indecent assaults and six further charges of actual bodily harm.

A spokeswoman for Ashfold School said: “The police informed us on Friday that Alan Williams, the former director of music at Ashfold, had died.

“Mr Williams was suspended on February 6, 2011 after being arrested by Suffolk police in connection with ongoing historic criminal investigations.

“Despite extensive police enquiries, it was confirmed again on Friday that none of the allegations relate to Ashfold School or any of its current or former pupils.”

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