A RETIRED primary school headteacher who taught in the Stroud area is likely to die in jail after admitting a string of historic sex offences against young girls.

Former Amberley Parochial School headteacher Mark Sanders, 77, was jailed for nine years and nine months for offences against two young girls, one in the 1960s and the other in the 1990s, at Gloucester Crown Court last Wednesday November 15.

The court heard that Sanders, of Princes Street, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, had been headteacher at Amberley Parochial School prior to his retirement but that his offending was not connected with his professional life.

Prosecutor Charlotte Evans explained how Gloucestershire police began an investigation in 2016 after being contacted by a woman alleging she had been abused by Sanders as a child, although she chose not to take matters further.

In 2021, the woman got in touch again and was interviewed.

The woman recalled being abused when she was a young girl in the Stroud area, adding that she was about 14 when she realised what had happened was wrong.

In 2017 she emailed Sanders and confronted him with the allegations.

“He claimed he didn’t have any memory of the earlier incidents but recalled the last occasion and stated that he had 'taken an opportunity when it presented itself and seized it'," said Ms Evans.

Sanders told his wife about the email, and the court heard they had since divorced.

Police also discovered an allegation that he had touched a girl under her skirt in a park in the Forest Hill area of London in 1962, the court heard.

Sanders pleaded guilty to the following offences which happened in the early 1990s in the Stroud area - unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl, indecently assaulting a girl, gross indecency with a girl and indecently assaulting a girl.

The victim said in a statement to the court: “What Sanders has done to me has had a big impact on my life. I am battling every day to gain a sense of self-worth.

Sanders also admitted indecently assaulting a girl in the Forest Hill area in the early 1960s.

Catherine Spedding, for the defence, said: “He is remorseful and has expressed this in a letter to the court."