Woodford Green music teacher accused of child abuse, posed as female journalist, court told

PUBLISHED: 14:18 11 November 2010 | UPDATED: 16:25 11 November 2010

Michael Crombie

Michael Crombie


A MUSIC tutor with an alleged water fetish posed as a female journalist to encourage a pupil to submerge herself in his bath, a court heard today (Thurs).

Michael Crombie, 73, of Monkhams Avenue, Woodford Green, satisfied his penchant for girls breathing under water by ducking one child in his pink bathtub during “music lessons”, it is said.

He denies 28 counts of indecent assault, seven counts of making indecent images of a child and possessing indecent images of a child.

But prosecutors say Crombie recorded eight films of the girl in various states of undress, holding her breath beneath the water, saying the “breathing exercises” would help the youngster learn to play the recorder.

The court heard she received letters from the Recorder Magazine – a publication dedicated to the instrument – urging her to perform Crombie’s “bubbling” exercises. But, the jury was told, the letters, signed Edna Barrett, were in fact penned by Crombie.

Now an adult, she said she was between 10 and 12 at the time. She said Crombie had also given her cash to buy a bikini to wear in his bath but she initially resisted. She said: “He was very disappointed and very unhappy and very cold.”

She later relented and bought a blue bikini but Crombie insisted that she strip naked for the bathtub lessons, the court heard.

The woman said: “There was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t feel strong enough to stand up to him. I couldn’t tell my parents at that stage, it had gone too far.”

Crombie allegedly struck between 1991 and 2002, preying on a string of girls.

Miss Canavan described Crombie’s alleged obsession with water as a fetish and said he was “sexually excited by women breathing under water”.

The trial continues.

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