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Jailed: Former Shropshire choirmaster indecently assaulted young boys

By Deborah Hardiman | Whitchurch | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

A former Shropshire choirmaster has been jailed for 20 months for indecently assaulting a child 40 years ago.

John Derrett

The historic offence only came to light when music teacher John Derrett was arrested for possession of indecent images of children in Humberside last year.

During his police interview about that matter he confessed to officers that he had sexually abused three boys dating to the period November 1977 to November 1980 while working in the Whitchurch area.

Mr Robert Edwards, prosecuting barrister, told the court: “In December 2016 the defendant was arrested by police in Humberside as attention had been drawn to him over concerns that he was in possession off indecent images of children. He was subsequently prosecuted and jailed for 12 months.

“During the course of that interview he volunteered that he was responsible for historic offences. He disclosed that he had been a church choir leader and the offences were while he had been working in schools in the Shropshire area.

“He gave details of three children, all would now be adults. Only one of them them was traced and it is only he who has made a statement of complaint.”

Mr Edwards told the hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court that the victim recalled that he was aged 13 to 15 when he was assaulted on a number of occasions at Derrett’s home address when they were alone.

Derrett first met the victim at choir rehearsals and later offered him music lessons. The victim described how the offences were "occasional and sporadic".

Mr Bernard Porter, defending, said Derrett admitted that he was attracted to young boys and that he knew it was “grossly illegal, but it seemed to be the way he was wired, it certainly wasn’t a lifestyle choice”.

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Specific

He said Derrett admitted indecent assault at an earlier hearing and he could not understand why the investigating officers had not dealt with all the offences together last year.

"This is an exceptional case in some sense because it's historical and is dated some 40 years ago. It is almost certain that had he not disclosed them, giving specific details the prospect of it ever coming the court would have been nil. None of the people involved have ever come forward in that time to make any complaint," Mr Porter added.

Sentencing Derrett to 20 months immediate imprisonment, Mr Recorder Stephen Thomas told him if that he had subsequently denied the charge and then been found guilty by a jury after a trial he would have been jailed for 30 months.

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However, the sentence was being reduced by a third due to "the particular circumstances".

The judge said Derret's age, his references, and voluntary disclosure had been taken in consideration under the sentencing guidelines.

"All of these have been taken into account along with the seriousness of what you did to this young boy. No-one else has come forward, but it is sometimes its embarrassment and shame that stops young man from coming forward," Mr Recorder Thomas said.

Derrett is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for six years and a notification order.

He must serve at least half the jail term before being released on licence.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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