A teacher has been jailed for seven years today (Friday 21 July) for the rape of an 18-year-old female three decades ago.
Alun Pickford, now 54, raped the female in the early 1990s while he was a junior teacher at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire.
He had invited the teenager to stay overnight at his one-bedroom flat on the school estate however they were not in any kind of relationship. He offered her his bed to sleep in while he slept on the sofa, but during the night he entered the bedroom and got into the bed with her.
She later told police she was paralysed with fear. She “shut down” and could not react or call out.
Shortly afterwards the victim confided in a friend about the incident but did not take the matter further. A witness said they had seen the victim coming from the direction of Pickford’s flat in the early morning, while another said that Pickford had later boasted about the incident.
In 2020, after years of mental anguish, the woman, now in her 40s, reported the rape to police and an investigation was launched.
In interviews with police, Pickford denied the incident had happened or that the girl had ever stayed at his flat. But he could offer no explanation as to why the witnesses would lie about what happened.
Pickford, now of Bratton, Wiltshire, pleaded not guilty but was convicted of raping the then girl by a jury at St Albans Crown Court and sentenced to seven years in prison. Pickford’s role as a teacher, who was entrusted with the safety and wellbeing of young people, was an aggravating feature of the sentence.
Investigating, Detective Constable Sam Hunt, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Non-Recent Sexual Offences Investigation Team, said: “I would like to commend the actions of the victim in coming forward after all this time to report what happened to her. She has shown incredible strength and determination to see this investigation through.
“Pickford’s attack on her when she was barely an adult has stayed with her all her life. I hope his conviction brings her some closure and the opportunity to move on.”
She added: “Pickford continued to work as a teacher in subsequent years. We have worked with local authority and education partners to ensure the safety of young people since the report was received.
“We take reports of serious sexual offences very seriously and will investigate them thoroughly no matter when they occurred. Specialist support is also available to victims as well.”