AN PE teacher who systematically groomed and sexually abused five teenage girls at his school has been jailed.

Geoffrey Openshaw, who taught at Darwen Vale High School, abused the youngsters between 1979 and 1990.

Today a judge branded him 'remorseless' as he was sentenced to 17 years and three months in jail.

Preston Crown Court was told that the perverted tutor, who then lived in Blackburn, would buy underwear and chocolates for some of the youngsters and would take them for weekends away.

One of the girls, aged only 12 or 13 at the time, was lashed to a bed with his tie so Openshaw could molest her.

Some of the abuse happened at his home, while other sexual acts took place in his office, above the school gym.

At an earlier hearing Openshaw pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault offences concerning the five victims

In statements read out to the court the victims, some now in their 50s, spoke of how he had “brainwashed” and “manipulated” them for his own sexual desires.

Prosecutor Paul Brookwell said Openshaw was aged between 35 and 46 when the sexual abuse occurred.

He was regarded as a popular teacher who would often put his arms around students.

His youngest victim was lured into a relationship when Openshaw asked her to babysit for him, the court heard, before he bought her presents, such as necklaces and handbags.

The victim said his behaviour had destroyed her faith in others and affected the way she had raised her own children.

Another victim, then 14, was groomed after she joined one of his after-school clubs, and he arranged to meet his third victim via a call box near her home.

Defending, Jamie Hamilton asked the judge to take into consideration the fact Openshaw had pleaded guilty before trial, which had prevented the victims from having to give evidence in court.

He also asked for the minimum sentence to be passed due to the defendant’s age, the health of his wife and his personal circumstances, and the fact he had nine character references and had never been before the courts until now.

Judge Robert Altham said: “He will get no reduction in his sentence for being sorry, because he is not.

“A man who is remorseless and in a state of some considerable denial does present as someone who is dangerous.

“The victims are all present in court and I salute their courage for preparing statements and in particular their courage in attending court to see this through.

“The court is often presented with statements that are difficult to hear. No matter how often they hear them they never get used to them.

“I regard the defendant as a manipulative and ruthless man who has used his position of responsibility to satisfy his sexual desires irrespective of his victims feelings.

“He completely lost his moral compass and I have absolutely no doubt it’s in him to offend again and in that respect he must remain a risk.

“In the pre-sentence report there’s no word of remorse or regard, and no word of any of these victims or what they have gone through.”

Openshaw, now 73 and living in Out Rawcliffe, near Preston, was sentenced to 17 years and three months in prison with an extra 12 months on extended licence if he is ever released.

Lesley Connor, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Operation Fervent Team, said: “Openshaw abused his position to groom and abuse his victims over a long period of time and I would like to pay tribute to them for the incredible courage they have shown to come forward and speak about what they have been through.

“Bringing Openshaw to justice would not have been possible without them.

“I would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, no matter how historic or who the alleged abuser was to come forward and report it to us safe in the knowledge that we will investigate professional and sensitively.”