THE former chair of governors of a North Yorkshire private boarding school has been acquitted of committing a string of sexual offences against its pupils and other teenagers.

But Brian Richard Martin, 68, could face a retrial because the jury at Leeds Crown Court was unable to reach verdicts on three charges after nearly 19 hours in retirement and was discharged.

All three remaining charges allege crimes against pupils at Queen Ethelburga’s School, Thorpe Underwood, north of York.

He showed no reaction as the jury returned the 21 verdicts they did reach at the end of a six-week trial.

During the trial he told the jury he bought Queen Ethelburga’s School, then based in Harrogate, for £1 when it was in serious financial trouble and moved it to his estate on Thorpe Underwood.

After he was charged, he moved out of his house on the estate and severed all his connections with the school.

The court heard some of the six complainants were pupils at the school.

Martin, of Farnham Lane, Ferrensby, Knaresborough, denied eight charges of indecently assaulting a boy, one of taking 12 indecent photographs of a child, three of an attempted serious sexual offence, one of a serious sexual offence, three of sexual assault, two of indecently assaulting a girl, two of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity when in a position of trust over them, one of inciting or causing a child to engage in sexual activity and three of sexual activity with a child.

He was acquitted of all but the two charges of indecently assaulting a girl and one of sexually assaulting a boy.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts late on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, after sending Judge Simon Phillips QC a note, the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts on five of the charges.

The judge told them he could now accept majority verdicts.

On Tuesday (July 10) at 12.30pm, the jury returned 16 more not guilty verdicts. At 2.15pm, the jury members told the judge they would be unable to reach any more verdicts and were discharged.

Mark McKone, prosecuting, said the CPS was likely to ask for a retrial on the remaining three charges, but asked for time for it to consider the matter in detail.

Leeds Crown Court heard that if there is a retrial, it would not be for some months.

Martin remains on bail on condition he does not contact any prosecution witness.