Former teacher convicted of historic child abuse at Crookham Court School

A 49-year-old man was convicted today of child abuse when he was a teacher at private boys’ boarding school in Thatcham in the 80s.

Mark Standish, also known as Alex, of Station Street, Waterhouses, Durham, was found guilty by a majority verdict of indecently assaulting a boy while he was a teacher at the former Crookham Court School.

The incidents took place between 1988 and 1989 when the victim was 14 and 15 years-old.

Standish has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on March 16.

Detective Constable Alison Bennett, from the child abuse investigation unit, said: “This has been a long and complicated investigation and we are pleased with the decision that the jury has reached in this case.

“Standish used his position of trust as a teacher to build a friendship with the boy and then over time began to indecently assault him.

“This abuse has had a long term effect on the life of the victim.

“While he has struggled to come to terms with what happened to him, Standish has gone on to enjoy a high profile career.

“I am pleased that the victim was able to find the courage to report these offences and I hope that this verdict goes some way to providing him with a degree of closure.”

Nina Maisuria, district Crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Due to the nature and age of the allegation and the complex issues involved, we knew this would be a difficult case to prosecute.

“However, having considered the all evidence provided by the Thames Valley Police, we were satisfied that in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution was in the public interest, and made the decision to proceed with this matter.

“The prosecution team worked hard to build a strong case, which was then presented to the jury.

“The outcome today has meant justice has prevailed for the victim.”

After leaving teaching, Standish was press officer to the Prime Minister of Albania and was working for the United Nations when he was arrested.

Crookham Court was exposed on BBC’s That’s Life and three other members of staff were convicted of child sex offences after the school closed in 1989.

I would like to speak in confidence to anybody who attended Crookham Court School.

Charles Derham


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