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HMA v Peter Antonelli


Dec 23, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 22 December, Judge Gilchrist sentenced Peter Antonelli to eight years’ imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of sexual abuse.


On sentencing, Judge Gilchrist made the following statement in Court:

“I have taken into account everything said on your behalf by your counsel. I have also read and considered the various character references submitted on your behalf. I accordingly recognise that, during your working life, you earned yourself a position of status and respect within your local community, both as a piano teacher and also as the founder and leader of musical groups for both children and adults. It is clear that in both those areas you made a positive contribution to the musical life of the region, and I have no doubt that there will be many people who feel that they benefitted from your talent and your hard work.

However, the jury found that, over a period of more than twenty years, you used and exploited your position to sexually abuse no less than six pupils when they were still children under the age of 16.

In relation to four of those girls, what you did to them was not in itself serious enough to warrant a prosecution on indictment. However, each and every one of those offences represented a gross breach of trust and a flagrant abuse of your position for the purpose of sexual gratification. 

In relation to the remaining two victims, the position is very different. It is, in my view, not a coincidence that both of those girls were musically talented. Neither is it a coincidence that – each in their own way – they were significantly vulnerable children as a result of their domestic circumstances.  You exploited both of those factors in order to sexually abuse them. You appeared to offer each of them support, both musical and emotional, way beyond what might be expected of a teacher. But you were in fact grooming, isolating and manipulating them into a position of dependency on you where you were able to sexually abuse them. You made your continuing support conditional on their compliance with your sexual demands. That abuse continued in each case for years, into each girl’s young adulthood. It was very serious – you put your penis into each girl’s mouth when they were only 14 or 15, as well as digitally penetrating their vaginas. In the case of one of the girls, matters progressed to the extent that you raped her on multiple occasions after she had reached the age of 16. 

It is clear, and not surprising, that both women have suffered considerable and lasting emotional damage as a result of what you did to them.

I am sure that you realise full well that the only appropriate sentence for the offences you have been convicted of is a substantial period of imprisonment. 

I accordingly sentence you to 8 years imprisonment, backdated to 24 November 2021.

As a result of this disposal, you will remain subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act for an indefinite period.”

22 December 2021