June 2017

Sneyd Green music teacher forcibly kissed schoolgirl, 13, on band practice break

A disgraced music teacher forcibly kissed a 13-year-old schoolgirl – on a break from band practice.

John Clapham asked to speak to his victim before kissing her and touching her breast and telling her he wanted to have sex.

Now the defendant, of Berwick Road, Sneyd Green, has been handed a 12-month community order after the case came to court years after the incident.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Clapham, who is now aged 37, was ‘banished’ from the group following the incident.

The victim then made a complaint to the police in 2015 and he was arrested.

Kevin Grego, prosecuting, said: “The complainant described to police that they met at practice.

“She went outside on a break. The defendant approached her and asked her to come away from the people that she was with.

“She then said he kissed her with a ‘ripping your clothes off type’ kiss and she could feel his arms around her body touching her breast from the side. He told her that he wanted to have sex with her.”

The court heard Clapham was previously jailed for two years in 2011 after he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault.

Clapham – whose music teaching role was described as ‘informal’ – was handed a 12-month community order with 140 hours unpaid work. He was also barred from a range of activities involving children and vulnerable adults.

Judge Paul Glenn told the defendant: “You’re now 37-years-old. At the time of the offence the victim was just short of 14.

“What you did went far beyond the acceptable behaviour of someone in that position and you must have known that.

“You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and it’s plain that you have taken very significant strides since your conviction in 2011 and have complied with any licence. The risk of you re-offending is now low.”

Clapham was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years following his previous conviction.

February 2011

‘Lonely’ organist jailed after having sex with girl, 15

A church organist John Clapham has been jailed after he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The 31-year-old, of Berwick Road, Sneyd Green, met the schoolgirl on social networking site Facebook.

Prosecutor Robert Price yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court the teenager was at her boyfriend’s house in October last year when she called Clapham because she was not allowed to stay the night.

He picked her up and took her back to his house.

Mr Price said: “They had consensual sex. She stayed at the address for the two nights before he eventually drove her home.”

The court was told that on November 2, Clapham went to the girl’s school and asked if the girl was there. He was told there was no girl of that name at the school. The administrator noted his registration number and called the police. Officers went to Clapham’s house looking for the girl.

They found her partially dressed under the bed cover. He told police at first he believed the girl was 18 as that was a requirement of being on Facebook, but later realised she was 15.

He said he got to know her through text messages.

He admitted driving to pick her up from her boyfriend’s address and going to his house and having intercourse the following night.

Clapham admitted visiting the girl’s school and said he met her from school that day, but they did not have intercourse.

The defendant told officers he was attracted to girls who were younger than him.

Police seized Clapham’s computer but no further charges were brought against him. The court heard it contained images of girls aged 14 to 16 dressed in school uniform, wearing underwear or bikinis.

Clapham pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child between October 14 and October 25.

Peter McCartney, defending, said Clapham, who has no previous convictions, was an organist in two churches but that has had to end.

He said: “He is an isolated, lonely and vulnerable man.

“It was the flattery that she was interested in him that led him to forget or overlook the legality of what he was doing.”

Judge Paul Glenn said he believed Clapham was a dangerous offender and jailed him for two years. He will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, was disqualified from working with children and barred from a range of activities involving children.

Judge Glenn said he regarded Clapham going to church to play the organ after having sex with the girl as “incredibly hypocritical”.

He said: “You knew she was vulnerable, you also knew your actions were highly illegal.

You are sexually attracted to young girls.

“I accept you are not a predatory offender but you were indulging your fantasies. There is a high risk of harm to children from you.”

The judge added: “The law is there to protect children, sometimes from themselves.”