A FORMER teacher at Reading Blue Coat School has been jailed for up to 16 years after sexually abusing two boys in the 1980s. 

John Imeson, of Fitzroy Crescent, Woodley, was convicted of 13 sexual offences, including buggery, indecent assault, and indecency with a child following a seven-day trial in May. 

Reading Crown Court today heard how "respected teacher" Imeson, 73, abused one of the pupils, who was believed to be either 11 or 12 at the time, during camping and canoeing trips he ran as extra-curricular activities at the boarding school between June 1980 and September 1982.

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Prosecuting, Maryam Syed said: "There has been no regret or remorse or insight from the defendant.

"His first victim was vulnerable and had been targeted. The victim has suffered severe psychological harm.

"Bearing in mind the pastoral role the defendant had at a school this was a very serious abuse of trust.

"There was a clear element of grooming behaviour.

"The victims should have expected to feel safe."

Reading a victim statement from the first survivor, who 12 of the sexual offences were committed against, Ms Syed said: "For four decades I have lived with this terrible secret and the impact it has had on my life.

"I know many of the decisions I have made going forward have been affected by this abuse. 

"When this abuse occurred I was very vulnerable. I was scared and alone. 

"I really believe I was taken advantage of."

The second survivor, who one of the sexual offences was committed against, also had a statement read out at Reading Crown Court. 

Paraphrasing his statement, Ms Syed said the man was abused when he was 13 and the incident affected his attitude towards authority at the school. 

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He said he still felt angry at the defendant, but also towards the whole school that this 'took place under their nose and they did nothing to stop it.'

Defending, Clare Evans said Imeson was a man who had never been in trouble with the police before. 

She added that the defendant maintained his innocence despite being convicted by a jury. 

The defence counsel continued: "In a 35-year history at that school, perhaps the court is a little surprised that no more have returned with a complaint against Mr Imeson. 

"He had a positive effect at that school with a large number of children.

"The Imeson family has been inundated with calls of comfort and support from staff and ex-pupils [since the conviction]."

Sentencing, Her Honour Judge Real said the boys were members of extra-curricular clubs Imeson ran at the school, such as canoeing. 

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She added: "Your offending was an abuse of trust in relation to the position you held."

According to the judge, Imeson's actions caused the first survivor "severe psychological harm" as he had struggled with depression for 30 years. 

Speaking of the "respected teacher's" actions, the judge continued: "There was some planning involved because you manipulated the situation you were in.

"Your first victim was vulnerable because of his personal circumstances. 

"You were nice to him and he was vulnerable to you as a father figure.

"Although this was a horrific experience, it was a finite period instead of a campaign of abuse over a number of years. 

"I don't consider you dangerous in light of your age and the age of the offences."

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Imeson was sentenced to 16 years in jail after he was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault with a male under 13, four counts of buggery, one count of indecency with a child and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.

He will serve half this sentence before being eligible for release on licence. 

Imeson appeared via video link from HMP Bullingdon for his sentencing at Reading Crown Court on Monday, August 23. 

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