Headteacher extradited from Spain jailed for rape and indecent assault

James Berry has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years following a string of sex crimes in Scotland.

Headteacher James Berry jailed for rape and indecent assault after extradition from Spain iStock

A headteacher who was extradited from Spain to face justice has been jailed for eight-and-a half years for sex crimes against two victims in Scotland.

James Berry subjected both of them to repeated indecent assaults and rape during prolonged ordeals of abuse committed in Glasgow and Renfrewshire.

On Monday, a judge told the 77-year-old: “In my opinion, the offences, the crimes, committed were extremely serious and can properly be described as heinous, albeit they are of a historical nature.”

Judge Thomas Welsh QC told Berry at the High Court in Edinburgh that he would have faced a ten-year prison sentence, but it would be reduced taking into account his age and the passage of time.

Berry, of Nova Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, had earlier denied a series of charges during a trial, but was found guilty of five charges of assault, indecent assault and rape.

He punched and throttled his first victim in 1963 at addresses in Glasgow, Renfrew and Houston and subjected her to rapes.

Berry also subjected a second victim to sexual abuse beginning when she was a child in 1969 and went on to rape her at addresses in Renfrew, Houston and Glasgow.

Berry, the head teacher of King Richard III College, a private school on the Balearic island where he has lived for 30 years, had claimed he was the target of a “criminal conspiracy”.

He was brought back to Scotland in 2019 under a European arrest warrant. Defence counsel Claire Mitchell QC said that allegations were first made against him in 2016 in Spain and then in Scotland.

She said: “The present and unusual circumstances are such that effectively parallel investigations were going on in Spain and Scotland.”  

She argued that the time that has elapsed in bringing Berry to trial was “excessive”.

Ms Mitchell said that at the end of any appeal process in Scotland Berry would be returned to Spain to serve his remaining sentence there through an undertaking by the Scottish authorities.

She said that Berry had built up the school in Spain from modest beginnings and was dedicated to it.

The defence counsel said he was assessed as posing a low risk of reoffending and added: “He has no previous convictions and no outstanding cases.” 

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