Former music teacher jailed for 'heinous' indecent assault

A former Louth music teacher who abused a chorister at St James’ Church has been jailed for his “heinous” crimes.

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

Peter Burness, 84, a former joint Head of Music at St James’ Church and King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault of a male in the 1970s.

He denied the charges, but was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court to six years imprisonment on Friday (July 22).

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He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Bishop Stephen Conway, Acting Bishop of Lincoln, has described Burness’s crimes as “heinous abuse” and has encouraged any other victims of abuse to come forward.

He said: “The Diocese of Lincoln was shocked and saddened to hear about the heinous abuse of a former Cordeaux School pupil and chorister at St James’ Church in the 1970s perpetrated by Peter Burness.

“During this time, Burness was joint Head of Music at St James’ Church and King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth (from 1966 till 1996).”

Bishop Conway added: “The safety of everyone who attends our churches is of paramount importance and the Diocese of Lincoln, along with the Diocese of York has worked closely with police and statutory authorities throughout this case.

“I would like to encourage anyone to come forward who may have been affected by this, or any other case. Support is available, and the diocese is committed to listening and taking action.”

Detective Chief Inspector Reid Martin, Protecting Vulnerable People at Lincolnshire Police, said: “My thoughts are with the victim of this horrendous offence and I thank them for their strength in being able to report this. The offender took a calculated advantage from a position of trust over a child. These offences may have taken place in the 1970s but even now, fifty years later in 2022, we will support victims and prosecute offenders to bring them to justice.”