A "TRUSTED" former police chief indecently assaulted youngsters at the poolside of his home, a court has been told. Philip Gaisford, who taught scuba diving to children from a number of Croydon schools, faces 33 charges involving nine alleged victims, five of them underage, and some of whom looked up to him as a father figure, a jury heard. Eleven of the alleged indecent assaults are said to have occurred in the garden of his former home in Colburn Avenue, Caterham, between 1997 and 2004, while giving one-to-one scuba diving tuition. The 64-year-old defendant was a Metropolitan Police chief superintendent until he began running a scuba diving firm 14 years ago. The other offences relate to Crowborough, in East Sussex, where he later went on to live. Prosecutor Mark Gadsden told Lewes Crown Court: "When a swimming pool was built at his Caterham home, the defendant could no longer control his sexual desires and started sexually abusing young people. "In later letters to his wife, he would claim to have the 'Gaisford curse' of a high sex drive." The court heard that some of his young students referred to him as "paedo Phil" behind his back, because of his overly friendly ways. He would offer them sparkling wine, encourage them to strip off and adopted a no-trunks policy at the sauna and changing area next to his pool, the court heard. Gaisford was once caught naked in the swimming pool with a "young male" by his ex-wife, said Mr Gadsden. Jurors were shown photographs of Gaisford in a pair of swimming trunks, drinking alcohol and encouraging the youngsters to wax his chest hair off. One alleged victim, who was 16 at the time, told the court on Monday that he had been abused by the defendant after drinking champagne at the poolside. The victim added: "I was very shy and vulnerable at school, and was struggling with the pressure of my exams. "He was a former senior police officer who I trusted. I felt comfortable with Mr Gaisford. There seemed no reason not to." The prosecutor said police later found pornographic videos on Gaisford's computer. Mr Gadsden added: "In an interview with a psychiatrist two years ago, Mr Gaisford said he was bisexual with a preference for boys. When he was asked if these were boys under the age of consent, the defendant replied 'yes'." Gaisford had told police that he had been spanked and sexually abused when he was a boy at boarding school. He denies nine offences of indecent assault – two of rape, one count of indecency with a child, four of sexual activity with a child, four sexual assaults, three attempted sexual assaults and ten counts of possession of indecent photos and videos. It is also claimed he perverted the course of justice by sending an e-mail to the family of an alleged underage victim, asking them not to co-operate with police. The trial is expected to go on until late May.
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