A former teacher who began sexually abusing a teenage pupil over four decades ago has been jailed.
The now 72-year-old, who most recently lived in Calstock, Cornwall, dominated his victim’s life and left her feeling ‘completely worthless’.
The sentence follows an in-depth investigation by the police Quest team, who specialise in investigating reports of non-recent sexual abuse.
Christopher Sillitoe, formally a teacher from Basildon, pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent assault at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday September 23 and was sentenced to four years and two months imprisonment.
He was also ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation to the victim and will be on the sex offenders register for life.
Investigating officer DC Rachel Mitchell said: “As a teacher, Sillitoe should have been a source of care and support for his pupils. He abused that power by taking advantage of a lonely, vulnerable teenage girl who trusted him.
“Not only did he abuse his victim, he dominated and controlled her life for over a decade. He even went as far as to track her movements and threaten those she spent time with.
“In a bid for ultimate control, he would also threaten suicide when she tried to end their relationship.
“I think that the only time Sillitoe ever showed an ounce of honesty was when he admitted to the charges brought against him and I’m glad that the victim did not have to face her abuser in court.
“I completely admire the courage and strength she has shown throughout this investigation and I hope it will encourage others who may have experienced something similar to come forward.
“You will be believed and you will be listened to.”
The Quest team was set up in 2019 to investigate non-recent child sexual abuse cases. They supplement the work of the Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT).
The team also work closely with independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs) and encourage victims to engage with SynergyEssex – an umbrella organisation of specialist charities who provide support to victims of sexual violence and abuse all the way up to trial.