THE devastated wife of a former school caretaker broke down in court after her husband was convicted this week of raping a teenage pupil nearly 30 years ago.
After a two week trial at Harrow Crown Court Ronald Aldridge was cleared of two counts of indecent assault on one alleged victim, but found guilty by a majority verdict of rape on a second victim.
On Tuesday (March 1) a packed public gallery, filled with tearful family and friends of the former school caretaker, had to be asked to leave the court after the verdict was delivered and emotions ran high.
Having been remanded in custody following the verdict 65-year-old Aldridge can now expect to be sent to prison, when he is sentenced on March 29, after Judge Stephen Holt said: “There is only one sentence I can foresee and that is a custodial sentence.”
During the trial the jury heard how Aldridge, of Bushey Heath, raped the 15-year-old pupil on the grounds of the Harrow school he worked at during an annual fete in December 1982.
She told the jury how he had been paying her close attention for some time, before telling her he needed to speak to her at the fete, taking her through empty classrooms and shutting doors behind him.
Following the rape the pair went on to have a relationship and the jury were shown numerous love letters and cards, some with her name explicitly written in them, which she said were sent to her during their tryst.
Three other former pupils came forward in the trial to allege that they too had relationships with him whilst they were underage pupils at the school, none of which he was charged with, for legal reasons.
Throughout the case Aldridge reiterated that he had never had sex with any of the girls and claimed that the letters had been either written to his then wife or to his current wife, with whom he was having an affair with at the time of the rape.
Following his time at the Harrow based secondary school, where the rape occurred, Aldridge went on to work at Pinner Park Primary School in 1991, where he was asked to leave after he was charged by police.
There are no allegations that he committed any crime during his time at the primary school and he has no previous convictions.