Teacher carried out 'wholly unnecessary' massages on pupils, court told

Ajaz Karim, who will stand trial at Brighton Crown Court, where he is accused of sexually abusing students at a top private school between 1985 and 1993. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Ajaz Karim, who will stand trial at Brighton Crown Court, where he is accused of sexually abusing students at a top private school between 1985 and 1993. Photo credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A top private school sports teacher massaged a pupil's "virtually naked body" while she was lying face down on the floor of his locked study, a court heard.

Ajaz Karim then turned the 14-year-old girl over and began touching her inappropriately, a jury at Brighton Crown Court was told on Friday.

The 63-year-old, of Hammersmith in West London, denies nine charges of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against six girls aged 14 to 18 at Christ's Hospital School in Horsham, West Sussex, between 1985 and 1993.

The court heard how he has also worked at Eton College, Queen's Club, The Hurlingham Club, and has links to London branches of Champneys and Credit Suisse.

Karim is accused of inviting girls into his study, locking the door and carrying out "wholly unnecessary" massages.

On other occasions he is alleged to have kissed a pupil on the lips and of trying to "snog" another.

Eloise Marshall, prosecuting, said: "Mr Karim used his position as a member of staff and his role in the sports department at the school to use massage of these girls as a subterfuge for touching them sexually.

"They didn't all appreciate at the time that the touching was sexual but all say they felt uncomfortable.

"The crown say [his behaviour] was inappropriate and unnecessary.

"Complaints made in the early 1990s led to Mr Karim having to leave the school."

On one occasion between 1985 and 1987 he told a girl to keep her eyes closed while he put music on and touched her naked body, the jury heard.

Ms Marshall said: "[She] had never been touched by anyone in that way."

Another 14-year-old recalled how he found her alone and was "pretty certain that he was going to snog" her, the court heard.

"He found it funny and she was shocked by his audacity," Ms Marshall said.

More alleged victims came forward after publicity of the case.

When Karim was arrested and interviewed by police in 2016 he denied the allegations, saying he was teaching the girls breathing and relaxation techniques and when he did massage them it was to help them bend their legs.

One girl complained to the school when he kissed her on the lips but he claimed it was a peck on the cheek.

Founded in the 16th century, Christ's Hospital charges boarders up to £31,500 a year and counts Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb, and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge as alumni.

Pupils still wear a Tudor-style uniform consisting of a long blue coat and high yellow socks.

Over the course of two weeks the court will hear evidence from the alleged victims, witnesses and the headteacher and senior staff at the school at the time.

The trial continues.