Edinburgh crime: Music teacher, Matthew Birch, jailed after assaulting and raping vulnerable students in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Fife

A high school music teacher has been jailed for 11 years after being found guilty of the sexual assault and rape of pupils in his care.

Matthew Birch was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of raping two girls, having sex with another and engaging in sexual activity with others, all while in a position of trust.

The court heard how the 45-year-old targeted vulnerable students and presented himself as a supportive figure in order to gain their trust.

Birch raped one girl after asking her to take part in a photoshoot in her home, and raped another girl on several occasions at his home in Falkirk.

Edinburgh crime: Music teacher, Matthew Birch, jailed after assaulting and raping vulnerable students in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Fife

He also engaged in sexual activity with others in his car, in classrooms and at an address in Edinburgh.

The offences took place between August 2004 and December 2017 while Birch was working at two schools in North Lanarkshire and Fife.

Procurator Fiscal for High Court Sexual Offences Fraser Gibson said:

“Matthew Birch abused his position of power to target vulnerable young girls in what should have been a place of safety for them.

“His crimes have had a lasting impact on the lives of his victims but he has been brought to justice thanks to their courage throughout the prosecution process.

“All reports of sexual offending are taken extremely seriously and I would urge anyone who has been the victim of similar crimes to come forward and seek support.”

Birch was sentenced to 11 years and he will also be subject to notification requirements indefinitely.

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Scottish Women’s Aid helpline: 0800 027 1234

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