Thursday, April 19, 2018

'Smarmy' sports coach is convicted of sexually abusing six girls from 14 to 18 at top private school

  • Ajaz Karim, 63, is convicted of seven counts of indecent and attempted assault
  • The former sports coach labelled his victims at Christ's Hospital School 'liars' 
  • Former Eton College coach is the third Christ's teacher convicted of sex assaults
Ajaz Karim has been convicted of seven charges over historic sex assaults on pupils at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham. A jury is deliberating on two more charges
Ajaz Karim has been convicted of seven charges over historic sex assaults on pupils at Christ's Hospital School in Horsham. A jury is deliberating on two more charges
A sports coach who was employed at some of the UK's top private schools and clubs has been convicted of indecently assaulting students.
Ajaz Karim, 63, has been found guilty of assaulting young girls at the prestigious Christ's Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex.
The once Ugandan refugee, a former pupil at the school whose education was funded by Sir Barnes Wallis, also coached at Eton College and The Queen's Club.
A jury convicted the ex-coach of seven charges of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault, at Brighton Crown Court on Thursday. 
The jury is deliberating on a further two indecent assault charges.
Karim's victims were all aged between 14 and 18 when he taught them between 1985 and 1993.
The jury heard how Karim, of Hammersmith, west London, massaged a student's 'virtually naked body' while she lay face down on the floor of his locked study. 
Another girl was pushed up against a wall and kissed by her predatory teacher.
He claimed he was using alternative therapy the Bowen Technique and was teaching them breathing exercises to help when playing sports.
During cross-examination, he admitted he had no qualifications for the practice.
Senior staff at the school came under fire from the victims over the way they handled the allegations at the time.
Karim was not reported to the police and was initially allowed to carry on working - and teaching the girls in question.

Karim left the school after complaints from four pupils surfaced between 1990 and 1993.
He is the school's third former teacher to be convicted of sexual abuse.

Divorced Karim, was seen as a school 'success story' because he was a refugee, gained a scholarship and returned to teach there, while also working at Champneys health club in London, and later at Eton College, Queen's Club, and The Hurlingham Club.

His fees were even paid for by alumnus Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb.
But the coach, described as 'smarmy' by his victims, went on to have 'wholly unnecessary' physical contact with students.

One of his victims told how he was laughing as she ran away after he tried to 'snog her' and she was shocked by his audacity.

Another said Karim spread rumours about her after she complained, which turned other pupils against her.

She said the experience had forced her to write off a large 'chunk' of her life.

Karim dismissed the allegations, saying he was friendly with students and there was nothing sexual in their relationships.

Instead of admitting his crimes, Karim branded his victims liars, even accusing one of being a 'manipulative' attention seeker.

He said he was a 'really good looking man at the time' and was 'offended' anyone suggested he was attracted to her.

His 26-year-old son and ex-wife sat in the back of the court when Judge Christine Henson QC said he will face a lengthy prison sentence and remanded him in custody. 

He did not react.

Simon Reid, the school's current headteacher, said: 'We are deeply sorry that the offences committed by Ajaz Karim almost 30 years ago occurred here at Christ's Hospital.

'Child sexual abuse is an appalling violation of trust which can continue to have an impact on its victims long after it takes place.

'We would like to thank those former pupils whose courage and strength meant that this individual will now finally face justice.'

He said the school's safeguarding policy has been improved since the time of the offences and that 'any allegations arising now would be dealt with in a very different way'.

Karim is the third Christ's Hospital teacher to be convicted after ex-housemaster Peter Webb, 74, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to 11 counts of indecently assaulting four boys, the youngest of whom was 11, over a decade during the 1970s and 1980s.

Retired teacher Peter Burr, 73, was also jailed for four years in January after admitting nine counts of indecently assaulting four boys aged 11 to 14 at the school between 1969 and 1973. 

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