A private school headteacher was allowed to continue teaching for decades after concerns were first raised about him, it has emerged.
Robin Lindsay was banned from teaching in 1998 for inappropriate behaviour around pupils, which included watching them shower and climbing into their beds as they slept.
But it has now emerged that complaints were first made in 1974 – and again in 1982, 1985 and 1986.
These allegations were noted in a 1993 report into conditions at Sherborne Preparatory School in Dorset which has now been made public under a Freedom of Information Act request.
But it was a further five years until he was banned from teaching in 1998 by the Department for Education, which branded him a ‘fixated paedophile’.
Despite this he was never investigated by police and died in July 2016.
Parents of pupils at the school even rallied to his defence, writing to the local paper: ‘His only fault is to have a little of the eccentricity that we British are famed for.’
The 1993 report was released by the council following a Freedom of Information Request by the Somerset Live website.
It was carried out between February 8 and March 8 of that year by the social services department at Dorset County Council.
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Inspectors noted that Lindsay would enter dormitories at night but he dismissed claims a student was indecently assaulted in his sleep – telling the boy he dreamt it.
The report confirms that the Department for Education and police had records of complaints about Lindsay’s behaviour towards boarders in 1974, 1982, 1985 and 1986.
Lindsay was questioned by social services – but told them a known individual had been entering the school and that he had taken steps to prevent this.
The pupil told police the intruder was male, wore a wig and smelt strongly of cigar smoke.
Lindsay would hug pupils tightly, smelt unpleasantly of cigar smoke and would ask ‘Is anyone awake?’ after entering dormitories in the night, the report noted.
Staff told the inspectors about Lindsay wearing pyjamas while teaching – and the matron saw him cross a corridor outside the boys’ dormitory with his trousers unfastened.
Lindsay is said to have invited boys into his bed at the school and in a hotel during a skiing trip.
The headmaster would rub student’s backs and sit on the end of their beds while they slept, removing their cover, social services were told.
But no employees suggested Lindsay had behaved improperly towards children at the time.
Inspectors had ‘serious reservations’ about Lindsay’s suitability as headmaster and recommended that he move out of boarding school accommodation and cease to be directly involved in the personal care of the children.
More complainants came forward in 2014 and 2015, shortly before Lindsay’s death.
Nigel Jones, the current chairman of governors at Sherborne Preparatory School said it is now a completely different body to the school owned and operated by Robin Lindsay.
He added: ‘We don’t know what happened because we are not in any way party to things that went on.
‘If the allegations are true, they are totally abhorrent and we accept that.’