St George’s, Great Finborough

St George’s, Great Finborough

Sometimes referred to as Wicklewood School.

Operation Racecourse

Operation Racecourse (St George’s) has been running since the late 2000s. It has led to the independent school’s ex-headmaster Derek Slade being jailed for 21 years in 2010 for sexual and physical abuse against pupils between the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Alan Brigden (aka Morton), 67, who taught maths at St George’s, was jailed for five years last year for sexual abuse after being extradited back from Holland despite two suicide attempts.

A third man, music teacher Alan Williams, 59, who lived in Stowmarket, took his own life after being arrested on suspicion of abuse.

A 59-year-old man who taught at St George’s is currently on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse.

EADT 04/02/13

Victims of Brutal Paedo Head Speak Out

Sep 26 2010 by Rachael Bletchly, The People

TWO victims of a paedophile headmaster have spoken for the first time of the sadistic beatings and sex abuse they suffered at his hands.

Mark Smith and Russell White were just eight and 10 when Derek Slade began molesting them up to four times a week.

He also routinely kicked the terrified youngsters and thrashed them mercilessly with a cane or wooden paddle.

Slade even tape-recorded their screams of pain to gratify his own vile lusts.

The horrifying ordeal left such deep physical and mental scars desperate Mark later tried to kill himself.

But three weeks ago the testimony of Mark and Russell helped get 61-year-old Slade jailed for 21 years for abusing a dozen boys between 1978 and 1983.

The fiend preyed on them at St Georges in Great Finborough, Suffolk, a boarding school for the sons of military personnel whose fees were paid by the MoD.

Dad-of-two Russell, 40, said: We were defenceless kids at the mercy of a 16st sadist who beat us black and blue and sexually abused us. We were helpless voices crying out in the dark yet no one stopped the pain.

Our whole lives have been blighted by Slade’s perverted cruelty.

And Mark, a married father of one, said: He ruined my life. I’m finally getting professional help because I want to move on. But there can never be closure.

He robbed us of our innocence and trust and the pain will never leave.

Mark, whose dad was an Army sergeant, first went to the school motto: Be Of Good Courage in 1978.

He recalled: Id been there about a week when I wet the bed. I was a little lad of eight, separated from my parents for the first time, so its not surprising.

In the morning Matron made me dry the sheets on a radiator to humiliate me then sent me to Slades study.

There was a collection of canes on the desk and a cabinet for his other weapons a shoe with a ridged sole and a bat.

This huge man barked at me to drop my trousers and pants. Then he whacked me five times with the bat with sheer, sadistic force.

It was agony. I was utterly terrified. I was only eight, for Gods sake.

Mark, 40, wept as he went on: He made me sit on his lap and rubbed my bare buttocks and cuddled me. I then went to my dorm and cried my heart out. After that he beat me three to four times every week for four years with the canes, bat, shoe and his fists and feet.

You’d be walking down a corridor and hear him shout, You, boy! and you’d start to shake with fear.

I wrote home about what was happening but the letters got intercepted by Slade and we got beaten even worse. For years I thought my parents didnt care.

In fact, his mum complained after seeing terrible bruising on his back and legs when he was 11 but Slade simply told her: Your son bruises easily.


Recalling how he got so black and blue, Mark said: I was ordered to Slade’s study because I spelt something wrong in Latin.

While I was outside a teacher came past, so I plucked up the courage to ask for help.

But when Slade saw us talking he grabbed me round the throat, picked me up under his arm and stormed down the corridor using my head as a battering ram to smash through several sets of heavy, closed fire-doors.

The staff member said something but he shouted If you don’t like it, leave.

Slade dropped me down some stairs, dragged me to his study and started hitting me with a bat. I lost count at 89. Russell, son of a Navy medic, first met Mark at the school in 1980.

He said: On my second day I slid down a big spiral banister not realising Slade’s study was at the bottom.

I fell off as he came out. He shouted You, boy! and ordered me inside. I had to drop my trousers and he beat me on my bare bum with the bat.

Choking back tears, he went on: This was a 16st man beating a 10-year-old with full force. He was a monster.

After the beating he helped me pull up my pants and grabbed my penis.

I was frequently caned on my legs I once counted 20 on each before the pain made me shut off.

Ive blocked out so much but I remember nine or 10 severe beatings and the indecent assaults.

There didn’t have to be a reason for Slade to beat you. There was a chart where teachers gave you stars for being good or stripes for being naughty.

If you got three stripes you had to do a 5,000-word essay about the inside of a ping-pong ball without repeating any words. If you did you got beaten.

Another essay was Whackings I Have Had and if you didn’t describe your pain in enough agonising detail Slade would thrash you so you had something to write about next time.

He often had half a dozen boys lined up for punishment, so you learnt to try to get in first because by the time hed got through a few hed worked himself into a frenzy and hit even harder.

Some boys ended up in the hospital wing but nothing was ever done.

Russell, from Cambridge, added: I wrote umpteen letters home but only one or two got there when a cleaner smuggled them out for us.

I know my mum spoke to the school about me getting beaten but I don’t know what excuse Slade gave.


Dad knew if he took me out of school he’d have to repay some fees to the MoD and didn’t have the money.

But eventually mum begged my dad to get me out and I left in 1983.

After a troubled career at another school, Russell became an RAF medic.

He then joined the prison service and guarded Moors killer Myra Hindley.

Russell said: Bizarrely, that gave me some power back. Perhaps in my mind it was Derek Slade in that cell.

The legacy of abuse also devastated Mark, who left St Georges in 1982 and went to a new school in Essex.

He said: Id been there a month when I was sent to see the head.

I automatically took my trousers and pants down. His look of horror was the ultimate humiliation for me.

When I was 14 I started to cut my arms and burn them with cigarettes because I hated myself so much.

At 29 he tried to commit suicide. But when he woke up in hospital he said he had forgotten the abuse and did not remember it again till he heard about Slades arrest.

He travelled from his Isle of Wight home to Ipswich for the paedophiles trial and was reunited with Russell.

Mark said: I felt nothing but hatred when I saw Slade in the dock. He didnt show the slightest remorse.

Slade left St Georges in 1983 and opened a school in India using a false name. A number of pupils are now suing for sexual abuse.

Mark said: I want to help children who may be suffering what we went through three decades ago. We lost a huge part of our lives perhaps they’ll cope better if they get help soon.

People 26/09/10

Great Finborough: Paedophile former headteacher Derek Slade to be subject of BBC documentary

By Colin Adwent, crime correspondent, Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Slade, who was principal of the former St George’s School near Stowmarket was imprisoned for 21 years after being convicted of 50 offences.

Among the 62-year-old’s convictions were sex assaults on pupils dating back to the 1970s and 80s including buggery and indecent assaults. He also committed actual body harm and admitted 17 offences relating to child pornography, as well as one of possessing a false passport.

Slade’s reign of terror at St George’s, and its earlier incarnation at Wicklewood, near Wymondham, in Norfolk, was originally exposed by investigative reporter Roger Cook.

In the early 1980s Cook lifted the lid on the physical abuse suffered by pupils who lived under the strict regime of corporal punishment laid down by Slade.

The expose on the BBC Radio 4 programme Checkpoint led to national inquiries into the allegations about Slade.

Following Slade’s imprisonment last September Cook has made a follow-up documentary for Inside Out entitled Abuse of Trust. It is due to air at 10.35pm next Tuesday.

 Slade, formerly of Burton-upon-Trent, was originally exonerated of wrongdoing at an official inquiry but he was later convicted and jailed for assaulting a pupil at a school in Sussex. His sentence was overturned on appeal.

He then went overseas to set up schools in impoverished areas, leading to suspicions of further abuse.

Abuse of Trust follows his career, investigating how a man with such an appalling record was able to deceive charities and businesses and work with vulnerable children.

One of Slade’s victims from St George’s has been interviewed for the programme and has said he will waive his anonymity. The man, who asked not to be named until the programme aired, said: “I was sick of hiding. The shame belongs to him and not to me. Why should I hide?

“I was absolutely sick of being made to feel I am a victim, like I was when I was ten. I won’t hide in the shadows.”

Suffolk police are still continuing their inquiry into allegations about St George’s. A week ago it emerged 35 ex-pupils are taking legal action against Anglemoss Ltd, in Great Finborough, the company which ran it, claiming sexual and physical abuse.

EDP News 02/08/11

Great Finborough: Third arrest after inquries into historic sexual abuse at St George’s School

Friday, August 19, 2011

A THIRD arrest has been made by officers investigating allegations of historic sexual abuse at St George’s School in Finborough, near Stowmarket, and its former premises in Norfolk.

A 66-year-old man from Amsterdam has been arrested on behalf of UK police in Holland, following an investigation into allegations of abuse at St George’s School in Wicklewood near Wymondham, Norfolk, during the 1980s.

It comes after former headteacher Derek Slade was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court last September to 21 years in prison, after he was convicted of more than 50 offences of sexual and physical abuse against former pupils over a five-year period in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The 66-year-old, a Dutch national, is being held in custody in The Netherlands, following his arrest on Wednesday.

Suffolk Police have confirmed they will try to extradite the man to the UK in due course.

Ipswich Star 19/08/11

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