One of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles who carried out hundreds of sexual assaults against young boys while working as a teacher is free after spending just six years behind bars, it has emerged.
Charles Napier, 74, who is the half-brother of Maldon MP John Whittingdale, conducted a ‘campaign of abuse’ at the school where he worked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, grooming and assaulting 21 victims aged as young as eight.
One boy is believed to have endured up to 100 attacks by the predator, who was dubbed ‘rapier Napier’ by pupils at the school, which cannot be named to protect the victims’ identities.
He was jailed for 13 years at Southwark Crown Court in London in December 2014, but was released in May last year after serving just half his sentence, reports the Sun.
Asked by the paper if he wanted to apologise, he said: ‘I’ve said sorry to my victims. I didn’t say anything in court. I’ve said it since.’
A neighbor in the ‘quiet town in the south of England’ said ‘everyone is jumpy’ following his arrival.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘The most serious sexual offenders are no longer eligible for release halfway through their sentence thanks to reforms.’
Napier joined the school after leaving university and when he was arrested he told police he already knew he was a paedophile at that time.
Charles Napier (pictured outside court in 2014), 74, conducted a ‘campaign of abuse’ at the school where he worked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, grooming and assaulting 21 victims aged as young as eight on scores of occasions.
One boy is believed to have endured up to 100 attacks by the predator, who is the half-brother of Maldon MP John Whittingdale (pictured)
At his sentencing in 2015, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: ‘I have no doubt that you sought that post because of the proximity you would have to boys.
‘Within a very short time you were grooming those you had chosen, using the techniques of charm, flattery and the abuse of your power. The number of indecent assaults must be into the hundreds.’
The judge said some of the victims’ lives had been ‘dramatically damaged’.
He added: ‘These offenses…were committed by someone who had a special duty of care and who gravely abused that duty by grooming them for his own purposes.’
The court heard Napier’s offending at the school was ‘prolific’, with him targeting 21 different pupils aged between eight and 13 over a period of around two-and-a-half years.
Peter Clement, prosecuting, said: ‘The offenses are characterized by a campaign of sexual abuse involving significant planning, grooming and abuse of many pupils.
‘It was sexual abuse of particularly vulnerable victims. The defendant ensured each child’s compliance and silence through grooming to the extent that he abused several of the victims many, many times.
‘The trust abused the high degree of placed in him by his colleagues, the children’s parents and the children themselves and exploited his role for his own sexual gratification.’
The court heard Napier would give his victims treats including fizzy drinks and chocolate, often abusing them in a carpentry workshop, which, Mr Clement said, ‘became something of his den’.
One victim was told by Napier ‘dont be a baby’ while another ‘profound effects’ from being repeatedly abused and attempted later in life, the heard.
Napier was jailed for 13 years at Southwark Crown Court in London in 2014, but was released in May last year after serving just half his sentence, reports the Sun (stock image)
Some pupils were targeted as often as once a week, with one boy said to have been abused up to 100 times.
Napier abused some victims in the presence of other children, the court heard. On two occasions he made a boy perform a sex act on him, telling the child: ‘That’s what grown-ups do.’
Napier told police he underwent electric shock treatment but it had no impact on his attraction to children.
The court heard that after he was dismissed from the school he went on to join the Paedophile Information Exchange as treasurer – the group campaigned ‘for the rights of paedophiles.’
He said when interviewed that he felt ‘ghastly’ and ‘desperately sorry’, telling officers: ‘I was a very young man, I was completely out of control and completely out of order, putting it about everywhere.’
Benjamin Hargreaves, for Napier, said in mitigation that the defendant is ‘genuinely remorseful’ and ‘realises how appalling his actions were’.
He added: ‘He knows that he is responsible for a most serious and grave period (of offending) but he is no threat now.’
Napier was arrested under Operation Cayacos, a strand of a wider investigation called Operation Fairbank. Napier was the first person convicted under Fairbank.
Journalist Francis Wheen revealed he was a victim of paedophile teacher – and so were a ‘quarter’ of the boys in his school
Francis Wheen (pictured outside court after Napier’s sentencing in 2014) claimed that Napier abused a ‘quarter’ of the boys in the school where he taught, adding that he was aged only 11 when the teacher put his hands down his gym shorts at his school .
Among the victims who spoke of their relief but also their sadness following the sentencing of Charles Napier in 2014 were journalist and broadcaster Francis Wheen.
Mr Wheen, from Essex, who waived his right to life-long anonymity, was in court to see his former master be sent down some 45 years after he was abused.
He claimed that Napier abused a ‘quarter’ of the boys in the school where he taught, adding that he was aged only 11 when the teacher put his hands down his gym shorts at his school.
The journalist said that when he protested, Napier shouted: ‘Don’t be a baby’.
Mr Wheen described the sentence as ‘a signal the judge was giving – these things will be pursued now, even if it’s 46 years later don’t think you’ve got away with it’.
He told reporters outside court: ‘I am glad that it’s been done, I’m glad that it’s happened after all these years. I’m sorry that it’s taken so long but glad that justice has been done.
‘I occasionally thought in the last year or two, well, he’s getting quite old, maybe it wasn’t that serious, feeling a tiny bit of pity occasionally.
‘But I don’t feel that now, hearing as we’ve heard today about the sheer extent of what he was doing right under our noses while I was at school with all these other boys.
‘We just had no idea of the scale of what he was doing and how frankly damaged some of them were by what he did. Any element of pity disappeared fairly quickly.’
He also blasted what he described as Napier’s attempts to blame his abuse on ‘youthful folly’.
‘His record shows otherwise, that he carried on like this for a long time, abusing boys and exploiting his position of authority,’ Mr Wheen said.
‘Maybe he is now remorseful and wouldn’t do it again but certainly he carried on long after he left our school. He didn’t feel that ashamed of it at the time.’
Another victim in the case, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he was ‘sad it has come to this’ and described Napier as a ‘great teacher’.
‘The most sordid aspect for me was to write my statement and remember what happened 40 years ago,’ the survivor said.
‘I don’t feel that this really affected me that badly, I don’t consider myself a victim, but others were affected really badly.
‘I can forgive him but if he had done something to my last at eight or nine I would have been hard pushed to control myself and my anger. At the time I didn’t understand the gravity of what he had done, that it was unconscionable behaviour.’