September 2016

Paedophile ex-teacher and magistrate spared jail

copeland

A pervert who worked as a teacher before becoming a school governor and a magistrate has been spared jail after vowing to beat his child sexual abuse images addiction.

Vincent Copeland, of Leigh Road, Leigh, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today after admitting three counts of possessing indecent images of children at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court in June.

The charges related to category A, B and C images and movies that he sent to himself via two email accounts.

One of the depraved videos in the worst category A featured the rape of a ten-year-old boy.

The 61-year-old had what Judge David Goodin described as an “exemplary career” until his arrest in November for possession of the vile images.

The court heard how Copeland retired as deputy headteacher at Thorpe Bay School- now Futures College- in 2002 after spiralling into depression following the death of his long-term partner.

Maria Dineen, mitigating, said Copeland’s world “fell apart” and he became isolated and obsessed with the online world.

He developed an interest in viewing images of young children, but at the same time took up posts as a school governor at both St Thomas More High School in Westcliff and Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Leigh.

He also became a member of Southend Council’s children and lifelong learning scrutiny committee and a magistrate.

She said: “This is a man who may well have betrayed the faith that others had in him and he has betrayed the standards of public life.

“But at no stage did he ever use any role to commit any offence.”

Despite being found with the images, Copeland told police he had dumped at least seven computers in bins around Southend in the past.

After his arrest, police found a letter at his home which he intended to send to friends.

It said: “You know already, or will shortly find out, I’m in trouble for looking at illegal pornography online.

“I’m ashamed of this and will serve my punishment.

“I hope that you can forgive me.”

Copeland told police he had been downloading images of boys for “five or six years” and was interested in those aged 15 or over, although most of the images found involved 12-year-olds.

The court heard how Copeland has since taken part in courses run by paedophile treatment charity the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Judge Goodin said sentencing guidelines allowed him to jail Copeland for a short period of time but in light of his “public humiliation” and “genuine remorse” he decided on a non-custodial sentence.

He said: “There is absolutely no reason to suppose that you have ever presented a risk to any child in your long career in education, or indeed to any other child in terms of what they call contact offences.

“But you will be aware that there are child victims of this offending- the child victim in this case is a ten-year-old boy.

“Every time somebody downloads or clicks on such an image they foster a demand for the creation of more and the inevitable consequential harm and humiliation of a young child somewhere.

“Usually, nobody know who or where they are.”

However, Judge Goodin said Copeland could be rehabilitated and as a result a jail term was unnecessary.

He said: “I believe that you wanted to take the Lucy Faithfull course because you wish to put this terrible conduct behind you and tear yourself away from it.”

Copeland was handed a three-year community order and must take part in a 30 day internet sex offender rehabilitation programme.

He was also ordered to pay £425 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

A five year sexual harm prevention was also made to limit his contact with children under 16 years of age.

July 2016

Paedophile teacher offers to pay for course in bid to escape jail

A FORMER teacher, magistrate and school governor has offered to pay for a course to beat his child abuse images addiction in a bid to avoid jail.

Paedophile Vincent Copeland, of Leigh Road, Leigh, admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of children at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court in June and appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today to be sentenced.

However, Judge David Goodin unexpectedly adjourned the hearing and ordered a report from the probation service into whether the ten day course – run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation in Epsom – would be a suitable punishment.

The court heard how the 60-year-old was caught sending three category A, two category B and two category C videos and movies to himself via two email accounts.

Some of the videos in the worst category A involved a boy aged ten.

Copeland was arrested on November 19 last year and his home and electronic devices were searched.

Police found no further images, but Copeland admitted dumping his laptop in a bin inChalkwell Park and his hard drive in a bin in Leigh Broadway, as well as disposing of five other computers in the past.

He also confessed to regularly looking at photos of boys aged 13 and older in “provocative poses” and chatting with paedophiles on internet forums.

Copeland was a former teacher at Thorpe Bay School – now Futures College – and a school governor at both St Thomas More High School in Westcliff and Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Leigh.

Marie Dineen, mitigating, told the court Copeland’s behaviour was sparked by the sudden death of his partner 15 years ago, which sent him into a depression during which he retreated to an online world.

She said: “Curiosity got the better of him and, as is so often the case, what he initially found shocking, he became almost desensitised to.

Judge Goodin indicated he would not be sending Copeland to prison, saying he had “no wish” to send him straight to custody.

He said: “I can’t imagine how that could be to anyone’s advantage at all.”

He added: “You are self-disgusted and your remorse, in my judgment, is real.”

Copeland will re-appear at the court on September 8.

June 2016

Former teacher and magistrate pretended to be a 14-year-old online and had “obsession” with indecent child images

A perverted former teacher, school governor and magistrate hid a six-year obsession with downloading indecent images of young boys, a court heard.

Vincent Copeland, of Leigh Road, Leigh, admitted three counts of possessing indecent images of children at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The 60-year-old, who also served on Southend Council’s children and lifelong learning scrutiny committee, fiddled nervously with his glasses as the charges were read out.

They related to seven images found on his email account from November 13, 2015, but the court heard his computer was unable to be searched because he had dumped it in a bin.

Colette Harper, prosecuting, said Copeland “had never touched a child” but he had shared images with other men online and pretended to be a 14-year-old boy for online chats about child sexual abuse

He had also arranged to meet up with a fellow paedophile.

She said: “Mr Copeland, at the time of these offences, was a magistrate and a school governor and a retired school teacher.

“The images were all found via the defendant’s email as part of an operation in relation to his email account.

“A warrant was executed on a high risk basis on November 19, 2015, at his address.”

Copeland was a former teacher at Thorpe Bay School – now Futures College – and a school governor at both St Thomas More High School in Westcliff and Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Leigh.

Miss Harper said a letter from Copeland to an unknown person was found at his home.

It said: “You know already, or will shortly find out, I’m in trouble for looking at illegal pornography online.

“I’m ashamed of this and will serve my punishment.

“I hope that you can forgive me.”

Copeland told police he had been downloading images of boys for “five or six years” and was interested in those aged 15 or over.

But the court heard the images and movies found, which range from the most serious category A to category C, involved boys who were between ten and 12 years old.

Miss Harper said: “He did have a laptop but when he found that his AOL account had been closed down he panicked and got rid of the computer and threw it in a bin in Leigh.”

Matthew Bone, defending, said the case was a “crying shame” and Copeland was prepared for his punishment.

He said: “Mr Copeland has been a dedicated public servant for many years.

“He fully cooperated with the police, made admissions, and he’s pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity.”

He will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court at a later date.

 

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