A former teacher aged 91 has been jailed for carrying out a string of sadistic sex attacks on 14 boys, becoming the oldest person to be sent to prison for the first time.
Marcus Marcussen, from Worcestershire, remained apparently unmoved in the dock as a judge said the offences, committed between 1957 and 1978, had been “tinged with sadism”.
Marcussen, who has no previous convictions, was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for nine years for the abuse carried out over three decades.
The retired PE teacher and youth club volunteer, from Rochford, near Tenbury Wells, was convicted of 25 counts of indecent assault earlier this week after a three-week trial.
Marcussen had denied committing the offences against pupils at Ilmington Road comprehensive school in Weoley Castle, Birmingham.
Sentencing Marcussen, who made notes of his sentences on each of the 25 counts, Judge Nicholas Webb told the sex offender: “You retain an acute intelligence and although you are physically frail, forty or fifty years ago I am sure you were a formidable presence in the classroom.
“Standards of discipline were different then – corporal punishment was allowed – but your regime was tinged with sadism towards pupils.”
Pointing out that at least one victim had since attempted suicide, while another was caned by a headmaster after making a complaint of sexual abuse, the judge told Marcussen: “Every one of the witnesses remembered you and your deeds.
“Some have come to terms with their experiences better than others.
“However, all of the men who gave evidence, some now in their sixties and one or two in their seventies, have been affected for the worse by their experiences literally at your hands.”
Condemning Marcussen for creating an atmosphere of fear sufficient to quell all but the most assertive of boys, Judge Webb added the victims had been “in effect groomed” while being being subject to frequent, and sometimes weekly, offending.
Detectives arrested Marcussen, who used a whale bone to strike and intimidate pupils, after a victim reported the historical abuse in 2012.
It then emerged that the teacher had forced boys to use a swimming pool while naked, and had abused others at a youth club and in a shower block.
Opening the case at the beginning of the trial, prosecutor Sarah Buckingham said the defendant “hid behind a veneer of respectability” created by his work in the community with disadvantaged boys.
Miss Buckingham told the court that the first victim to contact police did so after receiving psychiatric support following a mental breakdown.
Another former Ilmington Road pupil then came forward to complain of being indecently assaulted in the 1970s.
Marcussen was then charged with indecent assault and indecency offences and subsequent media coverage led to the remaining victims coming forward.
During her opening address, Miss Buckingham asked jurors to bear in mind that society was “very different” in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, with little chance of complaints by children being taken seriously.
Defence counsel Sharon Bailey told the court that “at the age of 91 he will be the oldest person to be sent to custody for the first time.
“Any custodial sentence passed on Mr Marcussen is going to weigh far more heavily on him because of his age than it would on any other defendant.”