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Woodford Green indecent assault tutor went ‘unchecked’

PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 December 2010

Michael Crombie

Michael Crombie

Archant

A MUSIC tutor who molested children when they were supposed to be having lessons in his home went “unchecked” for the 11 years he carried out his crimes.

Michael Crombie, of Monkhams Avenue, Woodford Green, indecently assaulted nine schoolgirls during what were supposed to be recorder and piano lessons between 1991 and 2002.

One girl was encouraged to lie naked in his bath and ducked underwater for what he called “breathing exercises”.

The 73-year-old choir leader filmed the sessions including one which showed the girl, aged between 10 and 12 at the time, trussed up with his tie.

But police said the eminent musician, who organised and directed concerts around the borough, was not subject to monitoring or inspections by an organisation such as Ofsted because he was a private tutor.

Local Education Authorities do not keep a register of private tutors but do advise parents to ask for references and criminal record checks.

Det Insp Mick Thurley, of the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Command based at Woodford Police Station, said: “There is a hole in the system whereby you have this sort of set-up and it can seemingly go unregulated and unchecked.”

He also revealed that Crombie – who taught at two of the borough’s secondary schools until 1990 – was first investigated in 2000, after a complaint was made about him kissing a youngster on the lips.

He was arrested after a second allegation was made by another girl in 2006 but police were unable to take further action.

The father of two grown-up children was arrested again in January this year after two more victims came forward.

Police searched his house, which was crammed with a lifetime’s worth of musical material, and found videos of the assaults.

His wife Nora, 72, was also arrested but was later released without charge.


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