In November 1986, Derek Slade was convicted of brutal physical assaults on boys aged 8 and 11, causing serious bodily harm. His victims were pupils at Dalesdowne School at Dial Post, Horsham, West Sussex, a private school he was the Headmaster of. Slade was jailed for 3 months. The sentence was reduced to a conditional discharge on appeal.
At his trial Slade’s defence barrister, Simon Coltart, called on Slade’s old schoolfriend to testify as to Slade’s character:
“Islington councillor Derek Sawyer, a friend of school days, said Slade was a well-liked teacher. He believed corporal punishment was an effective aid to discipline.
Judge Peter Crocker said photos of the 11 year old boy’s bruised buttocks were sickening to look at.”