Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Court Hears Abuse Claims in Trial of Ex-Bakery Tycoon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Court Hears Abuse Claims in Trial of Ex-Bakery Tycoon

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Kennedy Court Reporter

ARESPECTED son of the foun der of Greggs is allegedly a child abuser who molested young boys in a series of attacks spanning three decades, a court heard.

Former headteacher, social worker and charity boss Colin Gregg is said to have indecently assaulted nine children, aged between 11 and 15, some of them during the course of his employment.

Prosecutors say Gregg's life of "decency and distinction" is a "veneer of respectability" and part of "an attempt to retain the respectabili ty that he has falsely presented to the outside world throughout his life".

It is alleged the 74yearold mar ried father of three, who denies 26 charges of indecent assault, carried out the abuse in his car, in the gym at his home, on the premises of schools where he worked, in a dormitory and in a school swimming pool.

The court heard Gregg was a former headteacher at King's School, in Tynemouth, and Talbot House school, and also taught at Durham School, as well as being employed in the children's department of Newcas tle Council as a social worker.

Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court, told jurors: "On the surface, he had lived a life of decency, indeed one of distinction.

"At the start of his adult life, he trained as a teacher and then, for a period, he taught at his old school in Durham. In 1967, however, when he was aged 26, Colin Gregg was drawn into the family business.

"As you know from the jury ques tionnaire you all read and completed, that business is now the public limit ed company Greggs, but when Colin Gregg joined it was nothing like the huge company it is today.

"As everyone knows, it is now a High Street presence throughout the country and a major employer both in this part of the world and beyond.

"At the age of about 29, having made a success of his life in business in three short years, Colin Gregg returned to what seems to have been his main interest in life, namely working with children and, thereaf ter, he worked both as a teacher and as a children's social worker.

"More even than all of that, in the course of his life, Colin Gregg had done much good work for charity, including setting up and managing a charity which raised large amounts of money for seriously ill children.

"And so, against that background, you will understand why we have suggested that, on the surface, Colin Gregg has lived a life of distinction.

"This trial will require you to dec ide whether the surface represents the full reality so far as Colin Gregg is concerned.

"The prosecution case is that he was indeed a child abuser and that, over the course of 30 years from the mid1960s until the mid1990s, he engaged in the regular sexual abuse of boys.

Mr Greaney said the trial will hear from 12 complainants, although the charges Gregg faces, which span a time peri od between 1963 and 1994, relate to nine boys.

The prosecutor said: "Colin Gregg's position is that all the allegations against him have been made up. …

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