A former music teacher from York has been convicted of 32 sexual offences against young girls.
Ben Breakwell, 40, of Monkgate, was found guilty yesterday (Monday, 2 August) after a trial at Isleworth Crown Court in London.
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be determined.
From 2014 until the end of 2017, Breakwell worked at a school in west London.
The court heard how he abused his position as a music teacher to engage his young pupils in sexual activity.
The offences related to sexual activity with three girls whose ages ranged from 13 to 16 and indecent images of a fourth.
As Breakwell’s offences came to light, a pattern emerged showing how he carefully groomed the girls in order take advantage of them.
Breakwell began a full sexual relationship with two of his victims when they were aged just 13 and 14.
A third victim, who was the object of Breakwell’s attention, received flattery and supportive messages from him. During a lesson, Breakwell took advantage of their proximity to kiss her. The girl was upset and later told her friends and then her mother who confronted Breakwell.
Breakwell denied he had deliberately kissed her. The victim later told police that she felt guilty about what had happened as she had bought him a box of sweets as a thank you present and thought that this may have encouraged him.
She was also worried that there was nothing to support her account if she decided to tell the school. For these reasons no formal complaint was made.
However, in September 2017, the friends of one of the victims approached a member of school staff. They told him of their suspicion about this inappropriate relationship involving Breakwell,
The school immediately suspended him, police were alerted and an investigation began, led by specialist officers from the West Area Command Unit.
After gathering evidence and speaking to the victims, Breakwell was arrested in November 2017.
A search of his computer uncovered indecent images of another victim who did not live in this country, this girl was successfully traced by investigating officers and she and her family have been spoken to.
Breakwell was interviewed about the matters, but denied that any sexual relationship had taken place between him and the girls.
In February 2020, he was charged with multiple sexual offences.
Detective Constable Ben Lawrence-Smith of the Metropolitan Police said: “My thoughts are with the young girls who were betrayed by Breakwell. They have all been incredibly brave and it is their courage in speaking out that has brought him to justice.
“Breakwell deceived and abused these girls and then sought to evade any responsibility for his actions. They were manipulated to the point where some felt it was they who were doing wrong. The fact Breakwell was a teacher only compounds this gross betrayal of trust.
“It is clear that Breakwell was a sexual predator who carefully manipulated these young girls in order to exploit them. His victims were very young and he led them to believe they were in love with him, knowing that if they cared for him they were less likely to alert anyone to his crimes.
“It can be difficult for victims of sexual offences, especially when their abusers are people in positions of power and trust, to speak out. I would ask that if you suspect anyone to be at risk from similar manipulation and abuse, please tell someone, either a parent, a carer or someone in authority.
“Due to the predatory nature of Breakwell’s crimes, it is possible there are further victims who have yet to come forward. If you or someone you know has been affected by Breakwell’s offending, or you have been a victim of a sexual offence, please come forward to police. Specially trained officers will be there to listen and support all allegations and work to bring offenders to justice.”