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Teacher accused of being a pedophile by Nicky Campbell faces new sexual claims in South Africa

A retired schoolmaster accused of sexually assaulting boys at some of Scotland’s most prestigious schools is now facing similar allegations in his adopted country, South Africa.

Broadcaster Nicky Campbell has led the campaign to extradite the 82-year-old man who has admitted fondling male pupils at Fettes College and Edinburgh Academy, which Mr Campbell attended in the 1970s.

The 61-year-old said he saw the teacher abuse his friend in his school’s changing rooms and described his behavior as “so ubiquitous” that all students knew what was going on.

Now the man – only referred to as ‘Edgar’ for legal reasons – is accused of molesting another boy at Rondebosch Boys’ School in Cape Town, where he taught from 1979 to 2006, The Mirror reports.

Broadcaster Nicky Campbell says he witnessed his former teacher ‘Edgar’ assault male pupils at Edinburgh Academy in the 1970s and led the campaign to have the man extradited from South Africa to the UK.

Edinburgh Academy, where Edgar allegedly abused dozens of boys in the 1970s, has since apologized publicly and says he is cooperating with police

Edinburgh Academy, where Edgar allegedly abused dozens of boys in the 1970s, has since apologized publicly and says he is cooperating with police

Edinburgh Academy, where Edgar allegedly abused dozens of boys in the 1970s, has since apologized publicly and says he is cooperating with police

The victim, known as Steven, was interviewed by journalist Alex Renton for his Radio 4 series Dark Corners. He described being harassed by Edgar several times in a single year in the 1980s.

Steven said, ‘He was a senior teacher in his fifties, I was a boy of 12, 13 years old. All I could say was “Yes sir, no sir”. His favorite was being sloppy. If your shirt wasn’t tucked in, it was part of his modus operandi to have physical contact with you. That would grab me. He would press against me.’

Steven added that he witnessed Edgar assaulting other boys at school.

Dark Corners, which investigates allegations of abuse at some of Britain’s most elite schools, reported that the Cape Town School has called on alumni to tell their stories if they believe they have been abused.

Campbell described the interview as a “breakthrough” and said he was glad “the internet was finally getting closer” to the suspect.

He said, ‘It’s a real breakthrough. The Scottish and South African legal authorities have made procedural errors, but there is now a good chance that Edgar will be prosecuted in South Africa.

Fettes College, has issued a 'full and unqualified apology' to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry over Edgar's abuse

Fettes College, has issued a 'full and unqualified apology' to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry over Edgar's abuse

Fettes College, has issued a ‘full and unqualified apology’ to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry over Edgar’s abuse

“I listened to the entire unedited interview with tears in my eyes. It’s incredibly powerful. You hear the shame. It’s unbelievable that he came forward.’

Speaking on BBC Breakfast last July, Campbell said another teacher at his school, Hamish Dawson, had abused him and had since died. Now he wants to bring ‘Edgar’ to court, who turns out to be difficult to extradite.

“I think it’s an absolute scandal that the extradition process is anything like that,” he said.

‘[Edgar] could be one of the most prolific paedophiles in British criminal history if you do the math and look at how long he taught and how many schools he attended.’

He claimed that in 1971, when he was 10 years old, he witnessed the man – who has more than 20 allegations of child abuse under the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry – abusing one of his friends in the Edinburgh Academy showers after rugby practice.

“My friend laughs, but I know from the fear that it’s not a good laugh,” Campbell said. “When we walk to the bus stop, we don’t even talk about it and we never tell.”

Nicky Campbell spoke in July about witnessing and experiencing sexual and violent physical abuse as a young schoolboy at a Scottish private school in the 1970s

Nicky Campbell spoke in July about witnessing and experiencing sexual and violent physical abuse as a young schoolboy at a Scottish private school in the 1970s

Nicky Campbell spoke in July about witnessing and experiencing sexual and violent physical abuse as a young schoolboy at a Scottish private school in the 1970s

The former Watchdog host added that he “couldn’t have talked about the school” when his mother and father were “alive” because of the sacrifices they made to send him to a private school.

He also called for changes to the rules for private schools that are not subject to the same protection requirements as public schools.

Mr Campbell added: ‘There is no mandatory reporting in the private sector and you now think with our understanding and sensibilities that he would be.

“Such schools nurtured a culture of omerta and not telling and keeping the secrets and these are the people who have run the country.”

After Campbell made the allegations public, other former students from Edinburgh Academy and Fettes College stepped forward with stories of abuse.

Edinburgh Academy has since issued a public apology and says it is cooperating with police.

In a statement to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Fettes College – whose alumni include former Prime Minister Tony Blair – issued a ‘full and unqualified apology’.

It read: “While words of apology may have limited value, we fully accept and acknowledge that there has been a history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of students at Fettes College.”

Edgar, who lives in a retirement home in Cape Town, was arrested in South Africa by British police in 2019 and will appear in court on March 17 for another extradition hearing.

He told an earlier court hearing that he moved to Edinburgh from South Africa in 1967 to receive treatment after experiencing “an urge” to touch boys at the school where he worked after graduating, The Times reports.

  • Dark Corners airs on Radio 4 at 8pm tonight, and is on BBC Sounds.
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