April 2010

Perverted teacher avoids prison

A secondary school teacher’s life is in ruins after he was exposed as a child sexual abuse images addict with a fetish for young girls’ clothes.

Paul Sutton, 50 – who taught at Magna Carta School in Staines – was caught when police searched his two properties in Chertsey and West Molesey.

He was given a suspended prison sentence on Friday after a judge said it meant his behaviour could be monitored for longer than if he was immediately jailed.

Guildford Crown Court had heard how Sutton also took pupils’ underwear and swimming costumes home and used them for sexual gratification.

Addresses in Victory Road, Chertsey, and Balmoral Crescent, West Molesey, had been searched by police investigating offences of child abuse images in September last year.

Wendy Cottee, prosecuting, told the court that a total of 2,032 indecent images of children were found on Sutton’s computer – the vast majority being at level one, the least serious category.

“They were all of young girls aged between seven and 15,” she said.

“He said it had become an obsession.”

Sutton pleaded guilty to 19 offences of making indecent images of children and four of possessing indecent images of children.

The court was told that the defendant was a man of previous good character with a teaching career stretching back 26 years.

David Castle, defending, said his client was a highly-regarded teacher, and a reference was supplied by the deputy head at Magna Carta

“Mr Sutton is deeply embarrassed and ashamed of what he has done and by his appearance in court,” Mr Castle said.

“He and his wife have separated. He has lost his job, his home and his family. Life is not going to be easy for him.”

Sutton was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to go on a sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme and be under supervision for 24 months.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register and banned from working with children or having unsupervised contact with youngsters under the age of 16.

Judge Neil Stewart said an immediate custodial sentence would have meant a lack of supervision following release – whereas a suspended sentence meant the defendant could be monitored for a more significant period of time.

“The public is better protected by you receiving ongoing treatment,” he said.