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Queen Ethelburga’s School former owner Brian Martin jailed for non-recent child abuse offences

Last modified: 5 July 2021 at 08:47am

The former owner of Queen Ethelburga’s School near York has been sent to prison for three years and three months for non-recent sexual abuse of a boy and a girl.

Brian Richard Martin, aged 71, of Ferrensby, Knaresborough, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court today (Friday 2 July 2021) following a retrial for a sexual assault on a boy in the late 2000s that was first put before a jury in 2018.

Martin was also found guilty of indecent assault on a girl in the early-to-mid 1990s at another retrial held in 2019.

He was acquitted of six other child sexual abuse offences at the original trial in 2018.

Martin has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Bevington, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said:

 “Brian Martin was a well-respected member of society and a successful businessman. It was due to his success as a businessman that he was able to purchase Queen Ethelburga’s School which he moved from Harrogate to the Thorpe Underwood Estate where he lived with his family.

“The students who attended the school considered it to be safe and family oriented, and Brian Martin was a key figure at the school.

GUILTY: Brian Martin

“Despite significant investment being made in the school, all this served to do was to create an environment that Martin could exploit for his own sinister gains.

“He preyed on the vulnerability of the students and was able to manipulate circumstances which allowed him to sexually abuse two children who were boarding students and therefore isolated from their families.

“The school was supposed to be a safe place for the victims, and they should have been able to trust all adults and staff at the school.

“They could not have possibly conceived that it would be at this supposed safe place where they would be harmed so significantly by someone in a position of trust.”

DS Bevington added: “The bravery shown by the victims in this case to speak out against their abuser cannot be praised highly enough.

“They have had to give evidence in open court about the most vulnerable and traumatic experiences of their lives and re-live the dreadful abuse that was forced upon them many years ago when they were just children.

“The courage and conviction behind their evidence has led to Brian Martin being publicly exposed as the predatory paedophile that he really is.

“They have finally had justice for what they have had to endure for so long.”

Seeking further support, advice and ways of reporting child abuse

If you have been a victim of child abuse, no matter when it occurred, please do not suffer in silence – we are here to help you.

  • Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response
  • Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email sarc@nhs.net or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/
  • You can also contact Supporting Victims direct at supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100
  • NSPCC Helplines: * Help for adults concerned about a child – call 0808 800 5000 * Help for children and young people – call Childline on 0800 1111 * Go to www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/
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