A retired English teacher and school rugby coach has been jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing 19 pupils at a Yorkshire school between the 1970s and 1990s. Peter Andrew Holmes, of King Street, Bristol, was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court yesterday (Friday, 16 September) following a six-week trial in April and May this year.
The 73-year-old was found guilty of 28 offences against the young victims which included multiple counts of indecent assaults and indecency with a child relating to his time at the former Malsis School in the Craven District. The jury could not decide on five charges – two counts of buggery and three of indecent assault. The complainant involved decided not to pursue a retrial.
Holmes has also been placed on the Register of Sex Offenders and made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the rest of his life. Based at Masis Hall, Glusburn, Maisis School was an independent preparatory school before its closure in 2014.
Complaints against Holmes also came to light in the 1990s, but he had moved to Taiwan shortly after he left Malsis Hall. The investigation was led by Detective Constable Alison Morris, who has been involved in several interviews with the victims and has also taken dozens of witness statements from former pupils and staff connected to the school.
The Crown Prosecution Service authorised the string of charges against him and he failed to appear at the initial court hearing in Bristol. He was arrested by Avon and Somerset Police for failing to appear at court. The case was then moved to Skipton Magistrates’ Court on 15 January 2021 where Holmes pleaded not guilty, and it was sent to trial at Bradford Crown Court.
Speaking on the case Detective Constable Alison Morris said: “It has been proved that Peter Andrew Holmes is a systematic child abuser who used his position of authority as a teacher to prey on the victims who have bravely pursued justice against him.
“His reign of abuse at Malsis School spanned three decades. He has caused an enormous amount of trauma for the victims which they have endured from childhood through to the present day.
“I truly hope the conclusion of this case, with Holmes finally brought to justice and serving a significant prison sentence, they can begin to look to a future with hope and happiness in their lives.”