A former matron at a Sussex private school is facing charges of having sex with a pupil under the age of 14.
Tiffany Carter, 46, is alleged to have had sex with the boy when she got into bed with him after ‘lights out’ while working as a junior matron at St Andrew’s Prep School, Eastbourne, in the 1980s, Lewes Crown Court was told today (Wednesday, May 11).
Carter, of Eastbourne, denies three counts of gross indecency with a child and two charges of indecent assault of a boy aged under 14.
The wife of a former house master told the jury the boy alleged he’d had sex with Carter in exchange for chocolate bars.
Pia Abbott said, “The boy’s mother called me and said she’s had him on the phone saying he’s ‘done something bad’.
“Then she just came out with how he said ‘he’s been having sex with a junior matron and she’s been paying him in Mars bars and I want it to stop.’.
“He said he didn’t want anyone to know because he’d done something bad. I said to him ‘I’ve got your mum on the phone’ and he then burst into tears and said he had done something bad.
“I asked him what he meant by that and he said ‘after lights out when the house was quiet I’ve been visiting the junior matron,’ and he said ‘we’ve been having sexual intercourse.’
“He said he knew what sex was and he was worried he’d got AIDS. It was at the time when AIDS was quite a big issue. When I asked him about it he said she once got into bed with him after lights out.”
The boy’s mother told the court she’d received a late night phone call from her son talking about an AIDS advert he’d seen on television.
She said, “He didn’t say anything about sex in that phone call.
“I knew there was a girl who he said wouldn’t leave him alone, but I had no idea it was a matron at that time.
“The conversation led me to suspect there had been more than kissing because he kept mentioning an advert about AIDS on TV. And I thought ‘why would he be talking about that?’
“It was a very garbled phone call and he was crying. I went down to see him.”
She said, “My husband wanted to go to the police at the time. But because she had left their school I just wanted to make sure she no longer worked with children again. I was very upset and emotional at that time.
“I don’t know how long the abuse went on, but it happened nearly a year before he told me. He said he went up to watch TV in the matron’s room and that seemed to me to be wrong.
“I didn’t understand why he was in her room. This was such a long time ago. My husband and I always wanted closure for my son.”
Carter, who at the time of the alleged offences was known as Tiffany Poole, was arrested in October 2014 after a solicitor acting for the victim called Sussex Police.
A statement made by her to detectives when she was arrested was read to the court.
She said, “I do remember the boy. He had a crush on me. He used to give me cuddly toys.
“The other matrons used to tell me I had to be firmer with the boys. I never invited any boys into my room. My job was to make sure the boys washed and cleaned their teeth in the morning and evenings.
“I was never on my own with any of the boys. I don’t know why any of these allegations have been made.
“I was not sexually active until I was with my first boyfriend at the age of 19.”
The trial continues.
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