School head praises courage of victims of sex attacker

Ajaz Karim. Photo by Eddie Mitchell SUS-181008-104722001
Ajaz Karim. Photo by Eddie Mitchell SUS-181008-104722001

The head of an independent school near Horsham has praised the courage of former pupils who helped to bring a sex attacker to justice.

Former school sports coach Ajaz Karim was jailed for 10 years yesterday for a series of historic sexual offences against girl pupils at Christ’s Hospital.

Karim, 63, of Baron’s Court Road, London, was sentenced at Hove Crown Court for nine counts of indecent assault and one of attempted indecent assault against six girls at Christ’s Hospital.

Headmaster Simon Reid said after the hearing: “We are deeply sorry that the offences committed by Ajaz Karim almost 30 years ago occurred here at Christ’s Hospital.

“Child sexual abuse is an appalling violation of trust which can continue to have an impact on its victims long after it takes place. We would like to thank those former pupils whose courage and strength meant that this individual will now finally face justice.

“Today at Christ’s Hospital the safeguarding and welfare of pupils is our highest priority and any allegations arising now would be dealt with in a very different way.

“We work closely with the local authority safeguarding team to ensure that disclosures are fully documented, reported to the police as appropriate and are retained by the school.

“The wellbeing and safety of the children in our care will always be our primary concern.

“We also strive to provide an environment in which any child or adult feels that they would be supported in sharing any concerns.

“A report can be made in a number of ways: Our dedicated email address – safeguarding@christs-hospital.org.uk – which is staffed by a small team of specialists who can respond to your concerns or pass them on to the relevant authorities. All approaches will be dealt with sympathetically and in complete confidence.

“Sussex police can be reached on 01273 470101.

“There are a number of organisations providing support for victims of child sexual abuse including NAPAC (the National Association of People Abused in Childhood) on 0808 801 0331 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.”