A FORMER housemaster at a North Yorkshire Catholic boarding school “stole the innocence” of two underage boys, a court heard yesterday.

David Lowe, 66, abused the boys, aged eight and 10 respectively, as part of a series of attacks which he carried out in the 70s and 80s.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the historic assaults took place at Westminster Cathedral Choir School, in Victoria, central London, and the Benedictine monk-run Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire between 1978 and 1982.

Prosecutor Gary Rutter said the first incident took place in a dormitory room and that the victim was feeling homesick.

Lowe was “initially comforting” but then put his hand under the boy’s bedsheets and touched his genitalia for several minutes.

Mr Rutter added that shortly before the second incident, the victim was alone practising the piano.

“Mr Lowe entered the room and berated him for being bad at playing the piano and not working hard enough, saying his parents were paying a lot of money for him to be at the school,” he said.

The victim was then told to go to Lowe’s private room, where he would be “punished”.

Lowe told him to remove his trousers and then also fondled the genitals of the victim.

“He [the victim] was told he needed to get spanked,” said Mr Rutter.

The court heard that the second victim, being a couple of years older, knew immediately that Lowe’s actions were “inappropriate and wrong”.

The victim’s mother made a complaint to the school and a meeting was held with the headmaster, but Lowe denied any wrongdoing.

In an impact statement read out by Mr Rutter, the victim said he had “poor self-worth and self-confidence” as a result of the assault and that Lowe “stole his innocence”.

Lowe was jailed for 10 years in 2015 after he was found guilty of multiple counts of sexually assaulting pupils and appeared at Southwark via videolink from HMP Ashfield, near Bristol.

Some victims made the decision to come forward after reports of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historic sexual abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Stephen Lee, defending, said that Lowe and his family had been affected by the latest abuse allegations, which he was only charged with earlier this year.

“When he received the summons to Westminster Magistrates court he describes it as a ‘hammer blow’,” he said.

“It’s caused him a lot of heartache.”

Sentencing Lowe, judge Sally Cahill said: “At the time you were a teacher and also a housemaster at the Westminster Cathedral Choir School. You were in a position of responsibility in relation to young boys.

“They were away from their parents, very young and very vulnerable.

“Those then young boys are now grown men. They have had to live with what you did their whole lives.”

Judge Cahill referred to the remarks made at Lowe’s previous sentence hearing and also gave him credit for pleading guilty to the latest counts.

Lowe pleaded guilty to two further counts of indecent assault on a boy aged under 14, when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates in October He was sentenced to two years in prison which will run concurrent to his previous sentence of 10 years.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Lowe horrifically abused his position of trust and was clearly a significant threat to the young people he should have been protecting.

“Talking about child sexual abuse is incredibly challenging for survivors but this case is further proof that they will be listened to – no matter how much time has passed.”