GUY Anthony Ray-Hills was last night in hiding in his retirement flat in Twickenham.
Officially, the man now known as Tony was not available for interview, but he was prepared to take part in a discussion via his door-entry intercom.
He insisted that he was in such mental turmoil he could not answer allegations of child sex abuse at Loretto School.
''I am far too sick to speak to the press,'' he told The Herald.
''I am in a total state of shock and have had to visit my doctor. It is as if I am being hung, drawn, and quartered.''
A Scottish university professor has alleged that Mr Ray-Hills abused him and other boys at the school between 1951 and 1967.
Given several opportunities to confirm or deny the allegations, Mr Ray-Hills refused to comment. He said this was on the advice of his solicitor.
He claimed that he had not even read the original allegations made by film-maker Don Boyd in the Observer.
Mr Ray-Hills said that his solicitor had informed him of the Sunday newspaper article. Told that the article was available for him to read, he said: ''Please don't show me.'' Informed that further allegations had been made against him, Mr Ray-Hills said he did not want to know.
Although Mr Ray-Hills continued the conversation over the intercom, he declined a face-to-face interview. He said it was not because he had anything to hide, but because he was acting on the instructions of his solicitor.
He broke off the conversation, saying he would take legal advice, but later came back on the intercom to say his solicitor was not answering his call.
''In these circumstances I don't think I can speak about this further,'' he said.
The media spotlight first shone on Mr Ray-Hills in a weekend article in the Observer by Mr Boyd, who wrote of his abuse by his French teacher, Guy Anthony Ray-Hills, from1958 to 1965.
Such was the ''special friendship'' which Mr Ray-Hills cultivated with the pupils that Mr Boyd remained friendly with him for many years after he left.
''Like all other victims of adolescent rape, I found it impossible to see the experience as anything other than my fault,'' he wrote.
It was at a time of emotional turmoil, and disinhibited by alcohol, that 30 years after leaving Loretto, Mr Boyd blurted out his story at a dinner party. He was appalled at the impact it had on his fellow guests, who believed his abuser should be jailed.
It was only after that night he was able to tell his wife of 25 years how a lonely and vulnerable boy whose parents were abroad became the subject of ''a determined campaign to seduce me into his world of illicit homosexual sex''.
He added: ''I was about to become a victim of one of the most serious crimes anybody could possibly commit - the sexual rape of a child. Guy was a paedophile. I was his prey.''
After the dinner party in 1995, he told his story to a journalist and wrote to Mr Ray-Hills to warn him he might be exposed.
''I received a barrage of phone messages and three begging and apologetic letters.'' he wrote. ''Amazingly he accepted all my accusations. He knew it would be futile to deny them.''
Loretto's headmaster is Michael Mavor who attended the school from 1955 to 1965 and, like Mr Boyd, is a a former head boy. Earlier this week, he said in a statement: ''We at Loretto have noted with great concern Mr Don Boyd's article.
''Mr Ray-Hills was a member of staff at Loretto Junior School from 1951 until April 1967.
''At that time, he was interviewed by the headmaster with regard to certain allegations about his approach to boys. There was no allegation of physical abuse. Mr Ray-Hills left the staff straight away.
''Mr Ray-Hills then worked for the BBC for a period of time. He then applied for a post at Holmewood House in Tunbridge Wells. We understand that the headmaster of Holmewood House was in touch with the headmaster of Loretto Junior School and that an explanation of the reasons for Mr Ray-Hills's departure from Loretto was given.
''Mr Richard Selley, who is now head of Loretto Junior School and has taught at the school for 22 years, has said he remembers no such difficulty or complaint in his time at the school.
''Indeed Loretto, in common with all good schools, has made the welfare and happiness of its pupils - now girls as well as boys - a top priority.
''Staff are recruited with great care, are given very clear guidelines, and are regularly appraised. I know they are committed to the welfare of each boy and girl. Above all, the philosophy of Loretto School is one of openness and decency.''
Having concluded a life of teaching in some of Britain's finest schools, Mr Ray-Hills retired to Twickenham 10 years ago.
His elderly neighbours were shocked at the allegations. One, who asked not to be identified, said: ''He does like us to use his full name.''
Mr Ray-Hills' brother, Michael, lives just round the corner with his wife, in the same block of flats.
At first they attempted to pretend that Tony had fled the area to escape the media attention.
Michael claimed that he had last seen his brother on Thursday.
However, Tony made it clear when he later spoke to The Herald that he had spoken to his brother and had been told that the press were well aware of where he lived.
The old boys
Among the former pupils of Loretto are:
(right) the work and pensions secretary
High Court judges: Lord Allanbridge, Lord Johnston and Lord Marnoch
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie:
(left) who was the youngest person to hold the post of Solicitor General in Scotland when he was appointed in 1982.
(right) the former Scottish rugby star.
The late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: former Solicitor General and QC.
(left) the political editor of the BBC.
Lord Lamont: former Tory chancellor of the exchequer.
Fergus Ewing: SNP MSP and party Highlands spokesman.