A “SADISTIC and perverted” deputy headteacher terrorised the pupils in his class, meting out physical abuse and ritual humiliation, a court heard.

Grahame Brennand, 71, rubbed dog dirt in the face of a male pupil, threw boys across desks, lifted them off the ground by the scruff of their necks and locked them in cupboards.

Girls as young as seven were sexually abused, in the classroom, during swimming lessons and at a girls-only first-aid club, set up by Brennand.

He was found guilty at Preston Crown Court of 29 offences against a total of 11 victims. Twenty-six of the offences were sexual assaults on girls and three were cruelty offences against boys.

Handing him a 19-year sentence, Judge Philip Parry said: “You have been found to have made a career of being perverted and sadistic, almost in equal measure.”

Between 1973 and 1989, Brennand, who taught in the top junior class at St John’s School, Baxenden, kept the windows and door of his classroom covered in sugar paper to conceal the horror taking place inside.

Pupils would be told to put down their pencils to watch as Brennand removed his chunky gold bracelet and brought a boy to the front of the class, where he would be beaten in front of his classmates in an act of ritual humiliation.  One boy was hung from a coat hook by his clothing and had dog dirt rubbed in his face in the playground, the court heard.

Another described how Brennand repeatedly picked him up by the scruff of the neck, lifting him off the ground and dropping him on the floor.

Others said they were “pasted and walloped” and hit around the head and legs, so hard they would be knocked off their feet.

In contrast, the girls were showered with praise in order for Brennand to abuse them.

The deputy headteacher set up a first-aid club, in order to sexually abuse the girls, touching them under and over their clothing under the premise of checking their heartbeats or applying dressings.

When pupils plucked up courage to complain about the abuse, they were dismissed and chastised for daring to point the finger at a senior member of staff.

In 1990, Brennand, of Preston, was convicted of three counts of indecent assault relating to former pupils, but the conviction was later overturned by the Court of Appeal.

In harrowing victim impact statements, many of the former pupils said they had been left with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety as a result of their experiences in primary school.

One woman gave a personal account of the physical and emotional consequences she has suffered - telling the court she developed an eating disorder and abused alcohol as a teenager to cope with the trauma.

Her coping mechanisms have left her with lasting physical health problems which all stem back to her abuse at the hands of Brennand, she told the court.

Brennand showed no emotion as Judge Parry said: “You have materially affected the lives of so many of your former pupils for whom you were responsible as their teacher.

“Relationships and marriages have broken down because of you.  “You have damaged the mental health of most, if not all of your victims.”

“Some have turned to counselling, others to medication.

“You have destroyed sleep patterns, turned many to heavy alcohol misuse, induced anxiety and depression and in some cases left your victims with PTSD.

“You skewed the lives of so many, for your own selfish, perverted and sadistic gratification.”

Throughout the hearing, Brennand’s victims maintained a dignified silence, with many wiping tears away as they saw the man who abused them brought to justice.

As Judge Parry handed down the sentence of 16 years, with a three-year extended licence, a round of applause erupted from the public gallery.

Investigating Officer Keith Hill said: “Today’s sentence reflects both the gravity and extent of Brennand’s offending and I hope it can provide some sort of closure for those affected by his depraved behaviour.

“I would like once again to commend the victims’ bravery in coming forward and re-living their ordeals in order to give evidence. It has been a long and emotional journey for everyone concerned that was made all the more challenging by the defendant’s claim that the victims had somehow colluded to invent all of the allegations.

"Grahame Brennand is a devious and arrogant man that took advantage of his position to abuse many children in his care and to carry out his perverted sexual interest in young girls, abuse which continued over many years.

“Lancashire Police remains committed to investigating offences of this nature, no matter how historic, and we would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence to come forward safe in the knowledge that they will be treated sensitively and professionally.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The abuse inflicted by predators like Brennand causes pain and suffering that no child should ever have to endure.

“His victims have shown incredible bravery in speaking out, and this case shows others like them that they can come forward with confidence.

“At the NSPCC, our Speak out Stay safe assemblies are delivered to primary school children to teach children how to stay safe from abuse.

"Anyone with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 8005000."

Julie Green, acting headteacher at Baxenden St. John's Church of England Primary School, said: "We are aware that a former member of staff appeared in court today and that the legal process has now concluded. These offences related to offences from 1988 and earlier.

"Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this case."