October 2016

‘Sex addict’ teacher who asked girl, 13, to send topless pictures avoids jail


A “sex addict” teacher’s career is in ruins after he was caught with child pornography on his home computer.

James Luff, who was head of biology at Lutterworth College, also asked a 13-year-old girl on the internet to send him revealing and topless photos.

None of the children involved were pupils at the college, either past or present.

The 32-year-old, of Leicester Road, Mountsorrel, Leicester, was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with a requirement to undergo a sex offender rehabilitation programme.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, and his address will be on a sex offenders’ register, both for 10 years.

He admitted downloading 79 indecent images of children in category A, the most serious range, 59 in category B and 417 in category C, between September 2007 and June 2014.

Luff also pleaded guilty to possessing 128 extreme pornographic images, and attempting to incite a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, between March and May 2014.

Sentencing Luff at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Dean QC told him: “For most of the period that you’ve been addicted to pornography you’ve worked as a school teacher, and I’ve read that you’ve been very successful in your career as a teacher.

“I want to emphasise that in no way, shape or form did your use of pornography – or attempt at offending – involve any children in your care.

“Had it done so, it’s crystal clear you’d have been facing a lengthy sentence of imprisonment.

“There’s no suggestion you actually engaged in sexual activity with children.

“These offences are serious and the offending falls into such a category that would justify a short term of imprisonment.

“It’s important to say, however, that the sentencing guidelines indicate, where there’s a significant prospect of rehabilitation, an alternative to custody can be appropriate.

“Your reaction to being uncovered as a sex offender was unusually candid and you’ve voluntarily sought help for what had become an addiction.

“You’ve lost your career. That is of itself a significant punishment.

“And, no doubt, for the rest of your adult life, you’ll be haunted by these convictions.

“I’m confident you won’t offend again.”

Victoria Rose, prosecuting, said: “On April 22, 2015, a search warrant was executed at the defendant’s home.

“He told the officers he had an old computer in the attic which was seized and examined.”

Miss Rose said that as well as illegal images downloaded from the internet, there was evidence of Skype and social media activity with exchanges between the defendant and school children. There were conversations about school exams and homework – but the conversation went further with one 13-year-old.

They exchanged pictures of themselves clothed, before the defendant inquired: “Have you ever taken sexy pictures of yourself?”

He asked for more revealing pictures in her “underwear, bikini and topless”.

But none were sent and the child concerned was never located or identified.