A FORMER music teacher who sexually abused young girls has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Michael Crombie, 73, of Monkhams Avenue in Woodford Green, inappropriately touched nine of his students at his home between 1992 and 2001.

In the case of one victim, he persuaded her to take off her clothes and submerge herself in his bath on several occasions, which the former Wanstead High School teacher then videoed.

Earlier this month, after a three-week trial, Crombie was convicted of 26 counts of indecently assaulting girls under the age of 16, seven counts of making indecent images of a child, and one charge of possessing indecent images of a child.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court today (December 21), Judge Inigo Bing sentenced Crombie to seven years for each of the three charges relating to the indecent assaults in the bath.

Crombie, who looked frail as he entered the court with the aid of a walking stick, was also given eight terms of three years and a further 23 sentences of 18 months for the other charges. All sentences will run concurrently.

Judge Bing said: “The offences were a severe breach of trust because the parents of your nine victims placed their trust in you to properly teach and educate their children.”

Referring to the girl who Crombie lured into his bath, Judge Bing said the former teacher used an “elaborate and ingenious deception” and a mounted a “sustained and determined period of grooming”.

He continued: “You stated to her it was to help her breathing. Because she was so young and trusting she believed you.

“The reality and truth was you had a perverted desire to observe her naked under water to satisfy your sexual aberrations.”

His other victims “endured unpleasant and unwelcome advances from you during their lessons,” the judge said.

Judge Bing also paid tribute to the character of the women who had given evidence against Crombie, adding: “All your victims gave their accounts with composure and all were courageous in coming forward and reporting your activities.”

Since the trial began, more women who say they too were abused by Crombie have contacted police, who are now in discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service over whether to start further criminal proceedings.

Crombie will also have to adhere to a sexual offence prevention order, will remain on the sexual offenders register for life, and was ordered to pay £30,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.