A TEACHER who indecently assaulted four pupils has been jailed.

Gabriel Uttley denied the crimes against three boys and one girl under the age of 16, but was unanimously convicted of seven counts by a jury following a five-day trial at Basildon Crown Court this week.

All of the crimes took place when Uttley, 62, was employed as a teacher at Beauchamps High School in Wickford, over a six-year period.

On multiple occasions Uttley sexually touched the pupils over and under their clothing.

On the most serious occasion, Uttley touched and performed sex acts on a pupil under their clothing.

After the verdicts were read out yesterday, Uttley, dressed in a blue shirt and wearing a poppy, held his head in his hands fighting back tears while Recorder William Clegg QC lambasted him.

The court was told that Uttley had previously been a man of good character.

However, in the four victim impact statements provided by Uttley’s victims, it was said that his crimes had lasting impacts on their lives.

Recorder Clegg said Uttley had “betrayed the trust” of pupils.

He said: “You had considerable talents as a teacher. Pupils looked up to you and admired you.

“You gave much of your time to extra-curricular activities. I have no doubt that you are fully committed to the teaching profession.

“In addition to that you are a man of positive good character. Few defendants will have had as many and as varied the collection of people prepared to speak up for them.

“But tragically you betrayed the trust that the parents and school placed in you, in pupils you were caring for and teaching.”

Recorder Clegg said the offences had gone on for “many years”.

On the most serious offence, Recorder Clegg jailed Uttley for four years, with concurrent prison sentences on the seven other counts.

Uttley, of Lundy Close, York, will serve at least half of his sentence behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Recorder Clegg thanked the jury for their service.