Colin Gregg, 75, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court having been convicted of nine counts of indecent assault on four boys over a period of decades.
Gregg, who helped build up the family business and also worked as a social worker, abused his positions of trust as a teacher and headteacher to sexually abuse boys, Judge Robin Mairs said.
Gregg, of Homefarm Steading, Gosforth, Newcastle, had denied all the charges, claiming he was the victim of a “witch hunt” and that the complainants were looking for compensation.
Gregg grew wealthy from the family business and helped to raise thousands of pounds for children’s charities, the court heard.
The judge said: “It is true you have enjoyed great wealth, privilege and social standing.
“It is also true that you used those benefits as a cloak of respectability behind which you sexually abused young boys.
“You were a charismatic, inspiring teacher and mentor but you used those attributes to groom boys and to protect yourself from allegations.”
Gregg’s defence was that the complainants were fantasists and liars. But the judge said the jury heard their evidence and they were convinced it was the defendant who was lying.
Judge Mairs said: “What it demonstrated is that there is not a shred of remorse within you for your offending and the utter contempt for the complainants as children found its echo in your contempt for them as men.”
Gregg, of Homefarm Steading, Gosforth, Newcastle, abused one victim in a swimming pool, the others were molested in a gym, his study or a car.
The judge said: “This was sophisticated predatory behaviour, you are a sophisticated predatory paedophile.”
Detective Sergeant Chris Wilson, of Northumbria Police said afterwards: “We welcome the sentencing of the court today and hope this allows these victims to move on with their lives.
“Colin Gregg was in a position of trust which he used to sexually exploit children. This will have undoubtedly had a huge impact on the lives of these victims and their families. We hope today’s outcome gives them a sense of justice and some closure.
“There has been a significant national increase in reporting of sexual abuse partly due to the Savile investigation and also that the public have more confidence to report abuse to the police.
“And this case absolutely demonstrates it is never too late to report abuse. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, Northumbria Police encourages you to report – we will believe you. You will be treated with dignity and sensitivity by our dedicated and specially trained officers. We will ensure you are fully supported.
“We understand some people may have concerns about coming forward to report abuse to the police, if they do not feel comfortable in doing this we would encourage them to use some of the independent agencies available.”
An NSPCC spokesman added: “This case gives hope to survivors of child abuse that they will be listened to if they speak out – no matter how much time has passed.
“Gregg’s victims have shown incredible bravery in reliving their ordeals and it’s these actions that have helped bring their attacker to justice.
“During a sickening campaign of abuse, Gregg brazenly exploited positions of absolute trust for his own twisted gratification.
“We hope today’s sentence provides some level of comfort to those whose lives have been so badly affected.
-Story Sourced from the Sunderland Echo-