Two men who held high staff positions at a now closed-down special needs school near Grantham have been jailed for a total of 23 years after an investigation into non-recent sexual assaults on pupils.
David Taylor, 71, of Brayford Wharf North, Lincoln and Raymond Longley, 86, of Back Lane, Caythorpe, were convicted of several sexual offences at the former Stubton Hall School, spanning over a 20-year period between 1983 and 1995.
Taylor worked at Stubton Hall between 1975 and 1995, the final thirteen of those years he served as deputy headmaster, while Longley worked there between 1982 and 1997, serving as head of care for the first two years and living in a flat on campus with his wife as the main overnight carer for children who boarded there.
The two were sentenced after a lengthy investigation into reports of non-recent sexual assaults at the school, the first of which was flagged in 2016 by a former pupil.
Lincolnshire Police found evidence of sexual offences, assault and ill treatment by two former members of staff, Taylor and Longley, and during the investigation there were a total of 463 school pupils identified.
Some 340 of those pupils were traced to a last known address, and 203 of those engaged with the police investigation team. The current owners of Stubton Hall are in no way connected to this inquiry as the school closed down in 2003.
The school opened in 1952 as a boy’s school before eventually allowing both boys and girls in 1982. Predominantly it was a boarding school, but it did have a mixture of boarder and day students, as well as children residing at the school but studying elsewhere.
Stubton Hall School was a local authority maintained special educational needs school, under the governance of Lincolnshire County Council.
There were a series of court restrictions in place, which meant that both men had to be sentenced before the details came out.
David Taylor appeared at Lincoln Magistrates Court on September 7, 2020, where he pleaded not guilty to charges that included indecent assault on a girl, rape of a female under the age of 16, assault, ill treat, neglect, abandon of a child or young person to cause unnecessary suffering.
His case went to Crown Court, and following a five-week trail between May 24 and June 24, 2021, Taylor was found guilty of three counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault on a girl and two counts of assault, ill treat, neglect of a child or young person. The charges related to five separate victims.
Taylor was sentenced on July 2 to a total of 19 years and six months behind bars, as well as being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
Longley appeared at magistrates a month after Taylor on October 2, 2020, pleading not guilty to charges of indecent assault of a girl.
He too was found guilty during a Crown Court trial, lasting two weeks from July 5 to July 19, 2021. Longley was guilty of four counts of indecent assault on a girl and was sentenced to four years in prison on August 23.
The prison charges relate to three separate victims in Longley’s case, one of which said that he had “ruined her life.”
In an impact statement, one of Longley’s victims told the court: “He ruined my life. I couldn’t have relationships. I have never had a boyfriend because of what happened to me at school. I still have nightmares about what he did to me.”
Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight said: “These girls were targeted because they were particularly vulnerable. This was a gross breach of trust.
“When two of the girls gained the courage to complain to the head teacher they were disbelieved. They were not protected but punished.
“You claimed the girls were making malicious allegations because you had punished one of them for misbehaving the day before.”
The judge commended the work of the senior police investigating officer Rick Hatton and Detective Constables Helen McGill and Melissa Ablett.
She said: “The investigation was wide-ranging and difficult. It is clear that the officers worked tirelessly.”
Detective Superintendent Richard Hatton, who has now retired, said he hoped the convictions would help the victims of these crimes in some way: “The courage to come forward and be prepared to give evidence in court should never be underestimated.
“We have completed a detailed and through investigation but this was only possible because of the evidence given by others. I want to pay tribute to the victims and witnesses whose evidence has brought these two men to face justice.”
Stuart Lody, in mitigation, said Longley had no previous convictions and served in the Army and worked as an ambulance driver before he and his wife began working at Stubton Hall.
He said Longley was a popular member of staff among some of the other children who spoke highly of him.