John Brownlee: 'Sadistic' teacher who preyed on Nicky Campbell physically assaulted and emotionally abused schoolboys, sheriff rules

A former private school teacher who preyed on Nicky Campbell as a child did physically assault and emotionally abuse boys as young as eight, a sheriff has ruled.

The Crown Office said John Brownlee, now aged 89, "inflicted sadistic cruelty" on those in his care at Edinburgh Academy between 1967 and 1991.

BBC presenter Campbell, who was a student at the fee-paying school between 1966 and 1978, previously described Brownlee as a "sadist" and told a court how he was violently beaten by the teacher in a corridor.

Brownlee slapped, kicked and punched children, leaving some unconscious from his attacks.

He also assaulted the schoolboys with items such as a cricket bat, a snooker cue, a leather strap, and a clacken (wooden paddle).

His victims were aged between eight and 11.

Brownlee was found to be medically unfit to stand trial and the case was heard in front of a sheriff.

Following an examination of the facts at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, which included 42 former pupils giving evidence, Brownlee was found to have committed 31 charges of assault and assault to injury.

He was also found to have committed one charge of cruel and unnatural treatment.

Following the sheriff's ruling on Wednesday, Mr Campbell, 62, posted on X: "We did it."

Brownlee, however, will not face any punishment for what the Crown Office described as his "habitual use of physical force and mental terror".

Katrina Parkes, procurator fiscal for historic child abuse at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said: "Victims have been waiting lifetimes for recognition of the impact of abuse and have shared in their own words how childhood abuse has followed them throughout adulthood.

"John Brownlee has been found to have committed acts of great cruelty, to have terrified those he was entrusted to nurture during his time as a teacher.

"It is now a matter of public record that such acts were committed by the accused."

Read more from Sky News:
Woman, 70, 'scared to leave her house' after sexual assault
Drug dealer snared in phone sting that showed cannabis disguised as Wonka chocolate bar

Ms Parkes added: "The intimidation of and the use of force upon children, and the protection of those who inflict it, has no place in Scottish society.

"COPFS remain committed to investigating and pursuing those culpable to seek conclusions."