The former chairman of governors of a private school north of York has been jailed for sexually abusing its pupils.

A stream of ex-students from Queen Ethelburga’s School have given evidence against Brian Richard Martin at a series of trials at Leeds Crown Court.

This afternoon at the end of the third trial, he was sent to prison for three years and three months.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Bevington, who led the years-long investigation into Martin , said: "The students who attended the school considered it to be safe and family orientated and Brian Martin was a key figure at the school.

"He preyed on the vulnerability of the students and was able to manipulate circumstances which allowed him to sexually abuse two children who were boarding students and therefore isolated from their families.

"The school was supposed to be a safe place for the victims and they should have been able to trust all adults and staff at the school.

"They could not have possibly conceived that it would be at this supposed safe place where they would be harmed so significantly by someone in a position of trust."

He said: “The bravery shown by the victims in this case to speak out against their abuser cannot be praised highly enough.

“They have had to give evidence in open court about the most vulnerable and traumatic experiences of their lives and re-live the dreadful abuse that was forced upon them many years ago when they were just children.

“The courage and conviction behind their evidence has led to Brian Martin being publicly exposed as the predatory paedophile that he really is.

“They have finally had justice for what they have had to endure for so long.”

Martin, 71, of Ferrensby, Knaresborough, was convicted of a sexual assault on one pupil and indecent assault on another at separate trials. 

He was acquitted of a series of other child sexual abuse offences against other ex-pupils at the first trial in 2018.

He denied all charges.

At the first trial, former pupils described how Martin had had a lot of contact with students.

He arranged for them to have access to his living accommodation on the estate and held events for groups of students.

His barrister, Tania Griffiths QC claimed he was a "big brother type, a kind uncle who offered friendly advice and a release from the confines of the boarding school environment." and not a paedophile.

Martin bought the school when it had financial problems and moved it to Thorpe Underwood north of York.