Ex Highcliffe school teacher in court facing child sex charges

August 28th, 2012

Parents and governors at a Dorset school have been left shocked after a teacher appeared in court to face charges of sexually abusing girls. The 10 charges relate to a period when Adam Gutteridge worked at Highcliffe School near Christchurch, before he moved to London and became the star of a high-profile TV advert. It is not known whether the charges relate to his work as a teacher.

The 38-year-old has appeared at Bournemouth Magistrates Court with charges relating to girls aged 14 to 17. Parents received a letter on Friday from Highcliffe School headteacher Judith Potts to tell them about the allegations. “My son was taught by him and he is really surprised about the allegations,” said one mum. The woman, who asked to not be named, added: “They really liked Mr Gutteridge and he was very popular. “I’m upset and my son thought he was a very good teacher. “I was really shocked to get the letter.”

Gutteridge, who is now of Earlsfield Road in South London, was a maths teacher at the school from September 2002 to August 2007. He faced 10 charges dating from January 2005 to June 2007 and has not yet entered a plea. A total of eight counts relate to girls aged 14 and 15. They include intentionally touching 14 and 15-year-olds, causing or inciting a 15-year-old to engage in sexual activity and asking a 15-year-old to send photographs via the internet. He faced two counts of abusing a position of trust by intentionally touching 16 and 17-year-olds.

Gutteridge is a member of the comedy trio The Wogans and appeared as a superhero with the ability to change He has also worked as a composer on a radio comedy show for the BBC. He has been told to appear at Bournemouth Crown Court on August 20. Myra Mawbey, a school governor and councillor at Christchurch Borough council, is a former teacher and said there was to be a governor’s meeting this week. “I’m shocked to hear about a teacher being in court,” she said. Highcliffe councillor John Lofts, also a school governor, said he backed the letter sent by the head teacher.

Headteacher Judith Potts wrote the letter to parents informing them that Adam Gutteridge had been in court. She wrote: “I am writing to inform you that one of our former teachers has been charged with several serious offences. “Mr Adam Gutteridge worked at Highcliffe School between September, 1 2002 and August 31, 2007 before moving to London. Mr Gutteridge has had no further involvement with Highcliffe School since that date. He has been charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse against teenage girls from his time in Dorset. “The school has been cooperating fully with the police and Dorset County Council’s safeguarding unit on this matter. “Mr Gutteridge appeared at an initial hearing at Bournemouth Magistrates Court on June 7 2012 when a ‘no plea’ was entered. “If I can be of further assistance regarding any concerns you may have, please do not hesitate to contact me.”