Broadcaster Nicky Campbell has revealed how as a young schoolboy he watched one of his classmates being sexually abused by a teacher and opened up about physical beatings he endured at the hands of staff

Nicky Campbell reveals he saw friend at prestigious public school being sexually abused

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Broadcaster Nicky Campbell has revealed how as a young schoolboy he watched one of his classmates being sexually abused by a teacher and opened up about physical beatings he endured at the hands of staff.

The longtime BBC 5 Live Breakfast host and The Big Questions presenter claimed that as a 10-year-old boy at Edinburgh Academy in 1971 he saw a PE teacher set upon a young pupil in the showers – something the offender ‘was known for’ among students. 

‘My friend is laughing but I know from the fear in it that it’s not a good laugh,’ Campbell recounted.

‘The teacher has both hands on my friend’s penis and is masturbating him. When we walk to the bus stop we don’t even talk about it and we’d never tell.’

The teacher in question has more than 20 child abuse allegations to his name under the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Enquiry, Campbell, 61, told the Mirror. He is now allegedly married and living abroad and, so proving difficult to extradite. 

Referred to as ‘Edgar’, the man whose true identity has not been revealed is believed to have molested dozens of young boys at several schools in Edinburgh and his native South Africa.

‘We just accept it because if he is doing it then it can’t be that wrong can it? And at least he wasn’t doing it while in one of his violent rages,’ Campbell wrote.

The presenter is now working with journalist and child sex abuse victim Alex Renton to attempt to bring the unidentified alleged paedophile to justice. 

A paedophile school teacher allegedly molested dozens of school boys at Edinburgh Academy (pictured) in the 70s

A paedophile school teacher allegedly molested dozens of school boys at Edinburgh Academy (pictured) in the 70s

A paedophile school teacher allegedly molested dozens of school boys at Edinburgh Academy (pictured) in the 70s

Campbell, who was born in Edinburgh and attended the Edinburgh Academy before going on to study at the University of Aberdeen, also shared his memories of being physically beaten by teachers.

‘While we’d remained silent about the sexual abuse, the physical abuse had been called out,’ he said.

‘When I’d been badly and brutally beaten up by a teacher (whose identity was not revealed) – kicked, slapped and viciously tossed around like a rag doll – I had told my parents.

‘My mum made a furious call to the headmaster, demanding a meeting… but she had been ultimately stonewalled.’

The presenter claimed he had been beaten on multiple occasions, and also said his history teacher bent him and many other pupils over his knee at the front of the class for punishment, while also tickling them and running fingers over private areas.   

The broadcaster said witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy had had a ‘profound effect on my life’.

Campbell will tell BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I cannot describe it here and I can never un-see it,’ he will tell 5 Live.

‘This man was known to us all as a predator and a sadist but we never told anyone.

‘My school friends and I talk about it now with each other with again – contempt, disbelief and incomprehension that sort of thing happened in plain sight and nothing was done.

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‘And why didn’t we as little boys tell anyone in power what was happening? I don’t know.’

It was also revealed to Campbell by Renton that the alleged abuser is still alive, but has not been named for legal reasons.

Speaking on his own podcast Campbell says the reason he has chosen to come forward is to bring the man to justice over the alleged abuse.

In a statement provided to the BBC, Edinburgh Academy said it ‘deeply regrets’ the alleged incidents and ‘wholeheartedly’ apologised to those involved.

‘We have worked closely with the relevant authorities including Police Scotland with their inquiries and would like to provide reassurance that things have dramatically changed since the 1970s,’ the statement read.

‘The Academy has robust measures in place to safeguard children at the school with child protection training now core to the ethos of the Academy.’

Last June, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) announced that schools across Britain must ‘assume’ sexual abuse of pupils by staff is taking place after a spate of revelations were made about the abhorrent abuse of minors.

It came as another teacher from South Africa who taught at schools in southern England between 1970s-1990s was accused of several incidents of sexual assault on pupils.

David Price is alleged to have sexually abused ten boys between 1970 and 1990, with 33 charges relating to Ashdown House School in East Sussex when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a pupil there.

The British authorities requested he be returned to the UK to face justice in November 2018. 

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But the former teacher’s lawyers are claiming Brexit means there is no extradition agreement between the two countries.

David Price outside the retirement home in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch called Avondrust Court

David Price outside the retirement home in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch called Avondrust Court

David Price outside the retirement home in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch called Avondrust Court

Class photo: Rachel Johnson and David Price, circled

Class photo: Rachel Johnson and David Price, circled

Class photo: Rachel Johnson and David Price, circled

The Prime Minister in his schooldays at Ashdown House

The Prime Minister in his schooldays at Ashdown House

The Prime Minister in his schooldays at Ashdown House

Price taught history, geography and sport at Ashdown from 1970 until the 1980s.

Mr Johnson was a pupil there from 1975 to 1977. There is no suggestion he is among the alleged victims. His sister Rachel was the first girl boarder at the school in 1976. She said: ‘In those days, the three Cs – the cane, cricket and classics – were fetishistically followed.’

Price subsequently worked at Brockhurst School in Berkshire during the 1980s and 1990s, where he faces another nine charges. All the alleged offences involve sexual touching and performing sex acts on children or having them perform sex acts on him.

He later moved to his native South Africa where he taught at a school for the deaf for a decade until his retirement. During that time one of his pupils nominated him for Woolworths Teacher of the Year, a national award that he went on to win.

After a year in retirement he became bored and found a job tutoring children privately until his arrest in November 2019 following an application by the British government. 

Different With Nicky Campbell is available on BBC Sounds. 

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