On trial: Teacher Bruce Roth is accused of sexually abusing students while working at King's School in Rochester, Kent, and Wellington College in Berkshire
A young boy took an overdose of tablets after he was allegedly abused by his teacher at a top public school, his mother told a jury today. The boy only told his parents what had happened after details of the police investigation into his teacher Bruce Roth’s alleged molesting of boys appeared in a national newspaper. Roth is on trial for sexually abusing boys in his care at two schools he worked at - King’s School, in Rochester, Kent, and the prestigious Wellington College, in Crowthorne, Berkshire. The boy's mother today told Reading Crown Court that her son, who was then a student at Wellington College, blamed his paracetamol overdose on 'trouble with a girl'. She said: 'I think we had gone to bed and he came in and told us he had done it. He must have been 14 or 15 years old. 'I took him to the hospital and he was treated and we came home early in the morning the following day and I talked to him and he said he had broken up with a girlfriend and he hadn’t realised how many [pills] he had taken, and I believed him.' But many years later, while her son was at university, he told his parents what had really happened. In 2010, when the boy was no longer at Wellington College, the parents were contacted by a friend who told them of the investigation into Roth. She said: 'I asked my daughter if she knew anything about it or if there was anything I should be concerned about and she said we should talk to our son.' The worried parents drove to see their son at university and took him out for a meal, sitting in a dark corner of a restaurant, where they asked him directly what had happened. His mother continued: 'He went very quiet and started fidgeting. He told us he had been abused by Mr Roth at Wellington for nine months in his first year.
The schoolboy claims he took a drug overdose after being abused by Roth while a pupil at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire
Roth also faces allegations of abuse while he a teacher employed at King's School, in Rochester, Kent
'He said: ‘I never want to talk about it again'. He has only ever referred to it as ‘it’ since then.' The parents arranged a meeting with Wellington’s Master, Dr Anthony Seldon, who put the police in touch with them. The court heard how Roth had befriended the boy’s parents and would be invited for dinner at their home.
His mother told the jury: 'He came on more than one occasion. 'He had been so helpful to our son, musically and academically. I don’t know how it happened, we invited him to supper on occasion.' The mother said that when he would arrive at their home he would often bring a bottle of wine or Champagne or a box of chocolates.
Historic: Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh meet staff at Wellington College in 1959, one of several royal visits to the school
He also gave his alleged abuse victim gifts, including a computer game, a cockerel toy and a polo shirt. His mother continued: 'I think we probably said at the time that that was too generous and not needed.' She added: 'Our son hated it but I just put it down to a master coming to dinner. 'He was also very rude [to Roth], which I thought was a little out of turn.' Roth, aged 46 years, denies all 17 charges against him, four of indecent assault on a male person under 16, four counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity and six counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust. The hearing continues.