The owner of Queen Ethelburga’s School near York has been sent to prison for three years and three months for non-recent sexual abuse of a boy and a girl.
Brian Richard Martin, aged 71, of Ferrensby, Knaresborough, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court today (Friday) following a retrial for a sexual assault on a boy in the late 2000s that was first put before a jury in 2018.
Martin was also found guilty of indecent assault on a girl in the early-to-mid 1990s at another retrial held in 2019.
He was acquitted of six other child sexual abuse offences at the original trial in 2018.
Martin has been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Bevington, who led the North Yorkshire Police investigation, said: “Brian Martin was a well-respected member of society and a successful businessman.
“It was due to his success as a businessman that he was able to purchase Queen Ethelberga’s School which he moved from Harrogate to the Thorpe Underwood Estate where he lived with his family.
“The students who attended the school considered it to be safe and family oriented, and Brian Martin was a key figure at the school.
“Despite significant investment being made in the school, all this served to do was to create an environment that Martin could exploit for his own sinister gains.”
Went to ‘extreme lengths’
At the 2018 trial, Martin was said by prosecutors of going to “extreme lengths” to groom one particular boy, who was aged between 14 and 15 at the time.
A jury previously heard how the 68-year-old owned the land in Thorpe Underwood on which the school was based, giving him almost daily access to children.
Det Sgt Bevington added: “He preyed on the vulnerability of the students and was able to manipulate circumstances which allowed him to sexually abuse two children who were boarding students and therefore isolated from their families.
“The school was supposed to be a safe place for the victims, and they should have been able to trust all adults and staff at the school.
“They could not have possibly conceived that it would be at this supposed safe place where they would be harmed so significantly by someone in a position of trust.”
DS Bevington added: “The bravery shown by the victims in this case to speak out against their abuser cannot be praised highly enough.
“They have had to give evidence in open court about the most vulnerable and traumatic experiences of their lives and re-live the dreadful abuse that was forced upon them many years ago when they were just children.
“The courage and conviction behind their evidence has led to Brian Martin being publicly exposed as the predatory paedophile that he really is.
“They have finally had justice for what they have had to endure for so long.”