A FORMER teacher has been jailed for abusing two girl pupils while he was working at one of Britain's most prestigious grammar schools.

Geoffrey Wake took advantage of one of the girls after she ran away from home at the age of just 14 and went to him to ask for advice.

He abused the other when his own wife was pregnant and in hospital expecting his baby in the 1970s.

Wake was a PE teacher at Colyton Grammar School in East Devon at the time and the assaults were carried out in the nearby seaside resort of Seaton, where he was living.

He was also a semi professional footballer, playing in goal for Fourth Division side Torquay United at the time he carried out the attacks.

He moved on from Colyton Grammar School and enjoyed a career teaching at schools in Devon and Somerset until retiring shortly before the allegations came to light.

Neither of his victims made complaints at the time but both suffered the psychological effects and Wake's abuse was exposed when a relative of one of them called the NSPCC last year.

Wake, now aged 63, of Wellings Close, South Chard, Somerset, admitted a total of four counts of indecently assaulting one girl when she was aged 14 and 15 and the other when she was 14.

He was jailed for a total of three years and six months by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him:"These girls were pupils at the school at which you taught PE in the late 1970s. They were aged 14 and 15.

"The second victim was vulnerable, out at night, and came looking for you because of her vulnerability she came looking for you. You were in a pub and had probably been drinking.

"She was 14 and instead of providing her with help and assistance, you took her into a shop doorway where you thrust her hand down your trousers.

"I accept that since these offences you have lived a blameless life with many positive features in terms of supporting young people. It is a complete contrast to the abuse these offences disclose."

Mr David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the first victim was 14 and 15 when she was abused, and although she was a pupil at Colyton Grammar School, he did not teach her.

She knew him socially and he abused her on three occasions when he was aged 24 to 26, including at least one when his wife was in hospital, pregnant with his baby.

The girl had consented to the activity but there had been an element of grooming.

The other girl was also a pupil, who had a row with her parents during the summer holidays and left home at night. She sought him out in a club in Seaton, asking for advice, but was abused instead.

She fled from him and was found by a police patrol, which took her home.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said there had been no breach of trust because Wake knew the girls socially rather than through his work.

He said:"There was no offending in school. He has lived a blameless life since these incidents in which he has devoted himself to teaching others. The references show what a good job he had done."

Colyton Grammar is one of Britain's leading state schools, outperforms many public schools in league tables, and is classified as outstanding by OFSTED.

Its history dates back to 1546 and it currently has around 825 boy and girl students aged 11 to 18.

An NSPCC spokesman for South West England said: “Wake’s victims were vulnerable teenage girls who looked to him for comfort and support. Instead, he betrayed their trust and abused them for his own sexual gratification.

“With the attacks taking place decades ago, Wake may have thought he had got away with them, but thanks to the actions of a concerned relative who contacted the NSPCC, justice has finally been served.

“Without the right support, abuse can have long-lasting effects on victims."

Any adult with concerns about the welfare of a child or who would like to report child abuse now or in the past, can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111.”