22nd May, 2019

Former teacher and Warwick verger breaches sex offender's order

Correspondent 16th Nov, 2016

A DISGRACED former verger at St Mary’s Church in Warwick was giving unsupervised piano lessons to children just days after being made subject to a sex offender’s order.

It put 81-year-old retired teacher Alan Baker in breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed at Warwick Crown Court when he was sentenced for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

It was also a breach of the 12-month suspended prison sentence, with 100 hours of unpaid work and an order to register as a sex offender for ten years, he had been given.

But Baker, of Buckley Road, Leamington, again narrowly escaped being jailed after admitting the two breaches.

Instead, he was given an additional eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with an 8pm to 8am curfew for eight months, and was ordered to do 140 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said one of the conditions of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed in April was that Baker was not to have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16 without the consent of a parent or guardian in full knowledge of his sexual assault conviction.

Baker was a member of the church at St Mary’s, where he was an assistant verger and the music librarian for the choir, and had been a school music and French teacher until 1993.

After being sentenced in April, when he had said he would stop teaching music to children, but within days Warwickshire Police’s sex offender management team discovered he was still giving lessons – and while some parents were aware of Barker’s conviction, others were not.

Mr Windridge pointed out there was no suggestion Baker, who admitted failing to inform the parents, had done anything untoward during the lessons.

Sarah Holland, defending, conceded: “He will say it was his intention to tell the families; and he told some families, but not others.

“His explanation is that his embarrassment was such that he was not able to disclose it, and the lessons went ahead. He did tell one family the lesson should be supervised, but not why.”

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told Baker: “Most fortunately, and happily, you committed no sexual offences against the children when you were with them, and I am just persuaded to take a wholly exceptional course.”

During the original hearing it was said that Baker had met his victim, not through his role at St Mary’s, when the youth was in his mid-teens, and allowed him to visit his home.

On occasions he gave the boy alcohol, cigarettes and gifts, and sometimes took him along when he had cleaning duties at the church.

But twice when the youth visited his home last year, Baker sexually assaulted him.

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