West London music teacher who groomed students is jailed

A former music teacher who groomed and sexually abused his teenage students in west London has been jailed for 17 years.

Ben Breakwell, 40, enticed girls aged 13 and 14 into illicit relationships, organising secret meetings with his victims at his flat and the basement of the school where he worked.

Breakwell, who took up teaching at secondary school in Hammersmith, was caught in 2017 when friends of one of his victims reported him to school staff. He was sacked by the school when the allegations first came to light.

He was convicted of 32 offences on Monday 2 August at Isleworth Crown Court and was remanded in custody pending sentencing. The 32 offences related to sexual activity with three girls and indecent images of a fourth. He was jailed for 17 years at Isleworth crown court on Thursday 2 December.

Breakwell denied but was convicted of 21 charges of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, four charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust, a count of sexual assault, and two allegations of taking indecent photographs of a child.

Breakwell’s former school “appalled”

A spokesperson for the Breakwell’s former school said it is “absolutely appalled” by his crimes.

“Behaviour like this has no place anywhere in society and we fully support the judge’s sentencing decision today.

“As soon as concerns about this individual were raised in September 2017, he was immediately suspended and then shortly afterwards was dismissed. We also immediately contacted all the statutory authorities including the police, and have supported their lengthy investigation ever since. We repeat our thanks to the police for securing this individual’s conviction while conducting their investigation with sensitivity and professionalism.

“The wellbeing of those in our care is our over-riding priority and at the heart of everything that we do, supported by robust safeguarding procedures that have been reviewed and praised by the NSPCC. Above all we would like to pay tribute to the victims who showed such bravery and dignity to ensure that this person’s offences first came to light and to ensure that justice has been done.”

Police urge victims to speak out sooner

Detective Sergeant Ben Lawrence-Smith, who work on the investigation, said:

“Breakwell is a sexual predator, who targeted vulnerable children. I am very pleased that he has been removed to a place where he can’t cause further harm to children.

“The girls who were betrayed by Breakwell were incredibly brave in coming forward. Without their courage he could not have been brought to justice.

“As a teacher he had a duty of care to the girls, but instead he betrayed their trust in order to abuse them. He manipulated and exploited them and convinced them that what was taking place was not abuse, but love.

“I understand that it can be difficult for victims of sexual offences to speak out, but keeping abuse secret only protects the abuser.

“I urge anyone who believes they are at risk from, or have been a victim of abuse, to tell someone – a parent, a carer or ideally someone in authority, but please do speak to someone.“

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Former Hammersmith music teacher convicted of 32 sexual offences

See also: 17 year old charged with the murder of Rishmeet Singh

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