Piano teacher carried on giving lessons to children after sexual assault conviction

MHLC Alan Barker
MHLC Alan Barker

Within days of being made subject to a sex offender’s order, a disgraced former verger at the historic St Mary’s Church in Warwick was giving unsupervised piano lessons to children.

That put 81-year-old retired teacher Alan Baker in breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed at Warwick Crown Court when he was sentenced for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

It was also a breach of the 12-month suspended prison sentence, with 100 hours of unpaid work and an order to register as a sex offender for ten years, he had been given.

But Baker, of Buckley Road, Leamington, again narrowly escaped being jailed after admitting the two breaches.

Instead, he was given an additional eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with an 8pm to 8am curfew for eight months, and was ordered to do 140 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said one of the conditions of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed on April 29 was that Baker was not to have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16 without the consent of a parent or guardian in full knowledge of his sexual assault conviction.

Baker was a member of the church at St Mary’s, where he was an assistant verger and the music librarian for the choir, and had been a school music and French teacher until 1993.

After being sentenced in April, when he had said he would stop teaching music to children, he was subject to supervision by Warwickshire Police’s sex offender management team.

And two weeks later officers found he had not stopped giving lessons to children, so they spoke to the parents of a number of youngsters he had been teaching.

Some said they were aware of Baker’s conviction because of reports they had seen, and had cancelled the lessons, while others said Baker had informed them.

But the parents of four children were unaware of the matter, and Baker had visited their homes for lessons, including teaching one ten-year-old boy without any supervision.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC observed that as well as being in breach of the order, by continuing to teach unsupervised, Baker had been in breach of the bail conditions he was subject to before being sentenced.

Judge Lockhart said: “Most fortunately, and happily, you committed no sexual offences against the children when you were with them, and I am just persuaded to take a wholly exceptional course.”