The teacher who groomed and sexually abused pupils has been jailed for 15 years for offences dating back 50 years.

Leicestershire-born Anthony Shenton, of Church Lane, in Aldenham near Watford, now aged 82,  carried out his crimes on pupils aged between 11 and 15.

His first teaching job began at Langleybury School in Hertfordshire in 1966.

The abuse occurred between 1968 to 1984 in several different locations, including Shenton’s flat in Abbots Langley and an apartment in the school grounds, as well as during after school clubs, school canoeing and skiing trips. 

Langleybury school, aerial view,
Aerial View of Langleybury School, which closed in the 1990s.

He taught craft, design and technology lessons, metalwork and sports. With a keen interest in outdoor pursuits like mountaineering and canoeing, he also ran after-school clubs and organised school trips for young boy pupils which involved camping.

He pleaded guilty to 15 offences,  10 of indecent assault on a male person and five offences of indecency with a child.

Judge Caroline Wiggin said the abuse was “a gross breach of trust”.

She said Shenton knew his victims would not complain as they wanted to go on canoe and climbing trips.

“You knew that boys would not come forward because at that time in the 1970s there was perceived to be a shame in being the victim of sexual assaults,” the judge told St Albans Crown Court.

As a result, some boys said they had not achieved academically, others had contemplated suicide years later, while another had suffered a mini-stroke which he linked to the stress caused by the teacher.

On Friday 20 August he was found guilty by jury of two indecent assaults on a child, one offence of buggery and one offence of indecency with a child in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The judge told Shenton he would have to serve a minimum of half of his 15-year sentence before he was eligible for parole.

Detective Constable Liz McGrath, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Historic Child Abuse Investigation Unit (HCAIU), said: “Shenton used his position of trust to groom and sexually exploit young boys for his own gratification. Some of the victims said their teacher acknowledged that his actions were wrong at the time, but despite this he still continued his offending. 

“Though Shenton has acknowledged his guilt for some of the offences it will never make up for his depraved actions, the impact of which the victims have had to carry their whole lives. They were left confused by the advances of their teacher, who took advantage of them when they were vulnerable. 

“I can only imagine the courage it has taken the victims to step forward and give evidence about what happened to them all those years ago, but their bravery has meant Shenton has finally had to face up to what he has done.

“We take all reports of sexual abuse extremely seriously in Hertfordshire and will do all we can to achieve justice for victims of this devastating crime, however much time has passed.”