Former Darwen Vale School teacher, Mr Geoffrey Openshaw, pleaded guilty to unlawful intercourse and indecent assault offences concerning 5 vulnerable pupils.

On the 3rd December 2019 Openshaw was sentenced to 17 years and three months in jail with an extra 12 months on extended licence for the grooming of the five pupils at different times between 1979 and 1990.

It is recorded that the perverted tutor would buy underwear and chocolates and would take his pupils away for weekends.

Openshaw abused his position of trust as a School Teacher to gain access to the victims, and the abuse they were subjected to happened at his home in Blackburn, in his office at Darwen Vale School, and also above the school gym.

In an earlier hearing at Preston Crown Court, statements of the victims highlighted that Openshaw ‘brainwashed’ and ‘manipulated’ them for his own sexual desires.

One victim, looked up to Openshaw in his position as a respected PE Teacher, and he lured her into a relationship. He offered her pizza and alcohol and bought her necklaces and handbags.

The victim has said that Openshaw’s behaviour had destroyed her faith in others and affected the way she has raised her own children.

Openshaw also abused victims who attended an after school club he ran and has also been known to use the school camcorder to videotape sex between himself and his victims.

In sentencing Openshaw at Preston Crown Court, Judge Robert Altham regarded him as a ‘manipulative and ruthless man who used his position of responsibility to satisfy his sexual desires irrespective of his victims feelings.’

Often in cases of this nature, victims are able to bring claims against the offenders personally, but unfortunately they often lack the assets to make this worthwhile.

As a result of the psychological harm caused, his victims may be entitled to Criminal Injuries Compensation Application (CICA) Award. The CICA is a government funded body for the victims of blameless crimes.

Not only may they be entitled to CICA Awards, but in many other cases whereby we have been instructed to act on behalf of victims who have also been abused by their school teachers; Gordon Fleming, Graeme Brennand, Richard Hilary and Geoffrey Perryman to name a few, claims against the Local Authority have been presented as a result of the abuse suffered by them which has unfortunately had a profound impact on their lives.

Claims will be presented against the Local Authority as they are legally responsible for the actions of the Teacher.

Unfortunately, all of Openshaw’s victims will have and most probably will undoubtedly still suffer significant psychological harm due to his actions, and for these victims we realise there is unfortunately no getting away from what happened to them in their early years. However, pursing a claim often helps our clients to bring closure to their ordeal, following the sentence, to provide the resources to fund medical treatment and therapy they may require.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of abuse at the hands of Geoffrey Openshaw, we appreciate that it is often difficult to talk about what has happened, however our team is experienced and dedicated to speak with you in the strictest of confidence on 0330 134 6430 or alternatively you can email me on Katie.fox@farleys.com.