May 2023

Former teacher jailed for 18 years for sexually abusing girl in 1990s

A former teacher in the York area has been jailed for 18 years for sexually abusing a girl in the 1990s.

John William Renel, aged 68, of Main Street, Sessay, was found guilty of all five charges following a trial at York Crown Court.

These included one count of rape and four counts of indecent assault.

Renel, 68, pinned the girl down and raped and indecently assaulted her in a locker room at Cundall Manor School near Boroughbridge, prosecutor Rupert Doswell told a jury at York Crown Court.

The victim, who can’t be named for legal reasons, didn’t report the matter to police until 2021, more than 20 years after the alleged sexual abuse.

She said that before the alleged rape at the fee-paying independent school, she and Renel were “joking about something” in the school kitchen when he picked her up and joked that he was going to “throw her in the bin”.

He then carried her out into the corridor and touched her on the thigh near an intimate part of her body, said Mr Doswell.

Mr Doswell added: “He then took her into a side room – a changing room or locker room – where (pupils) hang their clothing.

“He put her down on the ground on her back. He was on top of her and she remembers him wearing a tweed jacket.”

She said she turned her head “to stare at the wall” as Renel allegedly raped her.

A family member later noticed that the victim, who was very young at the time of the offences, had become withdrawn and in adult life she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder which led to counselling and therapy.

Mr Doswell said that about five months after the victim’s first police interview, she contacted them again about the incident in the school locker room.

She said she could remember that during the rape, she felt as if Renel’s “body (was) crushing her” and that she was struggling to breathe.

According to the victim, Renel “simply walked away” after the incident, “leaving her on the ground”.

Mr Doswell said: “She (told police) she had one further memory of another incident (at the school) when she was older.”

She said that before this incident, Renel again picked her up and dropped her on a bed in a dormitory. 

He then laid down next to the victim, sexually assaulted her and then forced her hand onto an intimate part of his body. 

Mr Doswell said: “Her next memory is of the defendant’s face close up to her.

“She remembers feeling terrified. He was staring at her and scowling. He told her not to tell anyone, before leaving the room.”

He told police he had always taught in a tweed jacket but denied raping or sexually assaulting the girl. 

He was charged with one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault against the girl. He denied all offences but was today found guilty on all counts.

Recorder Anthony Hawks moved straight to sentence and jailed Renel for 18 years.

The former teacher was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for life and made subject to a sexual-harm prevention order for the protection of children. That order will also run indefinitely.