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Choir leader used his 'charisma, charm and popularity' to abuse boy

By Spalding Reporter

The founder of a choir was today (Friday) warned he faces a substantial jail sentence after he was convicted of sex attacks on a teenage boy.

Andrew Clingo, who became musical director of the Handful of Harmonies Choir and is a former primary school teacher, denied three charges of sexual assault but the jury at Lincoln Crown Court took just 90 minutes to consider the evidence before returning guilty verdicts.

Clingo (43), of Barleyfield, Langtoft, near Bourne, was granted bail to await sentence on May 17.

FACING JAIL: Andrew Clingo (9603697)
FACING JAIL: Andrew Clingo (9603697)

Judge Simon Hirst, in adjourning sentence, told Clingo: "Please be under no illusions at all. A substantial custodial sentence awaits you on May 17."

Clingo, who taught at the Fulbridge School in New England, Peterborough, as well as running a Stagecoach Theatre School in Northampton and a local drama group, claimed to the jury that his victim was over the age of consent when the incidents happened.

But his version was rejected by the jury who found him guilty of sexually assaulting the boy between October 1, 2007 and March 1, 2009 when his victim was aged 14 and 15.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, told the jury: "Andrew Clingo is a popular, charismatic man. He is somebody heavily involved in his local community and is well respected. He runs a drama group and at the time had a franchise with the Stagecoach schools. It is that charisma, charm and popularity that allowed him to abuse this boy."

Mr Watson said that Clingo made his first move towards he boy when giving the teenager a lift in his car. During the journey the vehicle stopped at red traffic lights and Clingo kissed the boy.

Clingo subsequently moved on to a higher level of abuse and performed sexual acts on the boy, said Mr Watson.

After a complaint was made to police Clingo was interviewed and told officers that there had never been any sexual behaviour between himself and the boy.


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