A FORMER teacher has been jailed for sexually abusing two boys at a Chaddesley Corbett boarding school in the 1980s.

David Hutchings had to face one of his victims in court after he travelled from America to recount how the deputy head’s abuse had caused a mental breakdown and thoughts of suicide.

The 73-year-old defendant of Swan Court, Stratford, walked into the dock with the aid of a stick and spent some of the hearing at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday with his head in his hands.

He had previously admitted four indecent assaults against two pupils, aged in their early teens, at Winterfold House School in Chaddesley Corbett, near Kidderminster and a further count of indecency against one of the children.

The offences took place in the 1980s when the school took boarders.

Gareth Walters, prosecuting, said Hutchings had been a member of staff at the school between 1961 until 2008, becoming deputy head.

Hutchings was described as a significant figure in the religious life of the school and the first victim had been invited to be an altar boy.

Hutchings climbed into bed with the boy and began kissing him on his back and lips. He also took him shopping and gave him a silver crucifix. The victim said the abuse made him feel sick.

At a reunion in 1982 he said to the victim ‘friends, right?’ Mr Walters said: “This left him with the impression he was to keep his mouth shut.”

The second victim described the school as ‘harsh’ but said Hutchings was ‘a good deal more lax and benign than most of the other teachers’. He was abused in the school's dormitory.

Darron Whitehead, defending, read out a letter of apology from Hutchings which said: "I'm deeply sorry and ashamed for these dreadful actions from my past.

"I'm sorry for the harm that has been done to the two young men concerned and for my gross breach of trust."

Although his memory of what happened has faded he said 'evil, once done, cannot be undone' and expressed the hope both men could 'mend themselves'.

Mr Whitehead said neither of the complainants had had to give evidence because Hutchings had entered an early guilty plea.

He said: "He made it very clear that whilst he had little memory, he was not prepared to call either complainant a liar.

"He does display obvious signs of frailty and he will struggle with the custodial environment. We ask you, please, not to crush him today."

Judge Robert Juckes sentenced him to four and a half years in prison and said the offences had shown an 'escalating seriousness'. He took it as an aggravating feature that some of the assaults took place in a dormitory when the victim was surrounded by his friends.