Crime & the Law

‘World renowned’ classical musician & teacher jailed 11 years for sexual abuse lasting 30 years

Musician and teacher jailed for 11 years

Philip Pickett jailed for 11 years. Image: City of London Pollice

An internationally renowned musician and teacher who used his profession as a cover to sexually abuse young women has been jailed for eleven years at the Old Bailey.

64 year old Philip Pickett from Lyneham in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was found guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault.

Pickett taught music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1972 and 1997 as well as founding the New London Consort and Musicians of the Globe.

The court hear that during this period he abused young women that came to him to learn music often within the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The first victim originally reported Pickett to officers in Suffolk following the publicity surrounding the Jimmy Saville child abuse investigation.

This case was then referred to the City of London Police.

The victim was 16 years of age at the time of the attack and was being taught to play the recorder.

She was indecently assaulted and raped.

She did not find  the courage to report him until several decades later.

The City of London Police say the media coverage of his arrest led to other women coming forward to make complaints.

Pickett was found guilty of raping a 21 year old woman student after locking a practice room door and turning the lights out.

The City of London police say the parents of another victim wrote to the  Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1984 and were told ‘they had not received any other complaints about Philip Pickett and suggested their daughter study elsewhere.’

As a result of the police investigation a letter was found from the Principal to Pickett in 1984 complaining that he had not arranged to see him to discuss the allegations.

CIty Police say that Guildhall School of Music and Drama co-operated fully, and safeguarding measures are in place to protect pupils of the school.

When sentencing Pickett Judge Charles Wide expressed his concern that:

There is the location of the offence in practice rooms at the Guildhall School of Music – sound-proofed, dark, you turned the lights out. Even if they shouted, they could not be heard, as you knew well, having got them on their own and shut the door.

Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall said:

Philip Pickett used his position of authority as an accomplished professor to abuse young talented women who were vulnerable due to their age and the fact they were students of his. He knew how difficult it would be for them to report his crimes to the school or to the police.

These are appalling crimes and I would like to pay tribute to the victims’ tenacity and bravery during the investigation. I hope they can take solace in knowing they may have stopped more young women being attacked, and others may now feel able to come forward.

Philip Pickett’s access to young women over such a period of time means that there could be more victims that have yet to come forward. I would urge these people to contact the City of London Police.

Any further victims are asked to call specially trained City of London Police detectives on 0800 056 0154. Alternatively they can email​​​

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