A FORMER Ampleforth College teacher has been jailed for ten years for sexually abusing pupils.

David Lowe, 61, took advantage of boys aged eight to 13 who were studying at the Benedictine-run prestigious Catholic boarding school and at Westminster Cathedral Choir School where he was a housemaster.

Judge Martin Beddoe said Lowe had left some victims with "serious psychological harm" and that he had "sullied" the reputations of both schools by his "selfish sexual acts".

Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, the judge told Lowe: "All these boys were to some degree emotionally and physically vulnerable - some were more so than others. You took advantage of that and made it all the worse by what you did.

"What you did has remained more or less a secret for the best part of 35 years until now. But for the courage of all ten complainants, in particular those most affected, a secret it would have remained.

"All (of the victims) were entrusted to your care as a member of staff at school. That trust was seriously betrayed by what you did."

Lowe, of Charlotte Street South, Bristol, denied 15 charges of indecent assault of a boy, but was convicted by a jury last month. He showed no emotion as he was jailed for ten years and put on the sex offenders register for life.

Many of the victims, supported by their wives and partners, were in court to see him sentenced.

Some came forward after seeing reports of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historic sexual abuse prompted by the Jimmy Savile scandal, and many felt he had "violated them all over again" by denying his guilt and thereby making them give evidence about what he did to them.

Southwark Crown Court heard the abuse occurred in their dormitories and during singing lessons at the choir school.

The abuse began in 1978 at Westminster Cathedral Choir School where he abused six boys.

Lowe left the school shortly after one of the victims complained about him abusing him in 1981, said Philip Bennett QC, prosecuting. He joined the staff at Ampleforth College and abused four more boys. The sexual abuse in the charges ended in 1984.