File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

The chaplain at a £35,000-a-year private school plied a pupil with oysters, Turkish cigarettes and wine before molesting him, a court heard on Tuesday.

Gary Dobbie, 67, assaulted the boy at Christ’s Hospital School between 1986 and 1991 while he was chaplain and a teacher at the school, it was claimed.

He invited the pupil to lavish dinner parties at his school lodgings and also enticed him over on his own, where the pair would watch Inspector Morse on TV in the dark, jurors were told.

During these visits, the chaplain allegedly molested the boy.

Dobbie was an "extravagant" chaplain who liked to dress in full ecclesiastic robes in church and burn incense in the school chapel, a jury heard at the start of his trial at Hove Crown Court yesterday. He would also hold dinner parties and invite favoured pupils, allowing them to drink alcohol.

The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was repeatedly invited to the events, the court was told. 

Opening the case, Abigail Husbands, prosecuting, said: "He was treated to food and alcohol while at Mr Dobbie’s and offered smoked oysters, Turkish cigarettes and good wine."

 She said he was also invited to the lodgings on his own and would sit with the chaplain on his sofa in the dark watching television.

The court heard that Dobbie molested the pupil, pushing his hands down the front of his shirt and rubbing his chest and back. He would also swing him on to his lap and grope him.

Christ’s Hospital in Horsham, West Sussex, is one of the oldest boarding schools in the country, dating back to the 16th century. It was founded in London by King Edward VI, who signed a Royal Charter for it just 11 days before his death in 1553.

Famous alumni include poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb. Miss Husbands said the pupil had endured a difficult time at the prestigious school and had been repeatedly bullied by other students.

She said he turned to the school chaplain for refuge and had become close to him.

But the visits were "not all innocent" and on "many, many times" Dobbie molested the boy in his lodgings, the jury was told.

The victim left Christ’s Hospital School after completing his A-levels and went on to university. The court heard he was contacted by police last year and interviewed in relation to the chaplain’s behaviour.

Dobbie was charged with three counts of indecent assault relating to multiple offences between 1986 and 1991.

The trial continues.

Daily Mail