July 2017

Deputy headteacher jailed after filming children getting undressed

A children’s safeguarding leader and deputy headteacher is behind bars after sneakily recording videos of pupils getting undressed in changing rooms.

Andy Robson, 42, from Dorking, was jailed for two years after he was convicted of taking photographs and videos of 70 naked schoolchildren at two separate Surrey schools.

Parents of his child victims broke down in tears as Guildford Crown Court heard how Robson used his iPhone to record the young pupils getting changed after sports activities.

He carried out his disturbing crimes over a period of several years when he was safeguarding leader and trainer at Surrey Hills CofE Primary School in Mole Valley and Ewell Castle School in Ewell.

Recorder Michael Bromley-Martin described his acts as “a gross breach of trust” during the court hearing on Friday morning (July 21).

The court heard how Robson had an addiction to downloading photos and videos of naked children through specialist software, and would then delete everything through guilt before downloading the software and images again.

Police arrested the 42-year-old in February at his home in Leslie Road, Dorking, which was then searched by specialist officers.

A number of items were seized including a laptop, USB sticks and two hard drives which contained indecent images of children.

Robson was subsequently charged with two counts of making indecent images of children and two counts of taking indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty to all four charges at Staines Magistrates’ Court on June 19.

He was committed to Guildford Crown Court to be sentenced and Robson had his head bowed as he sat in the dock throughout the hearing.

A number of the victims’ parents were also in court for the sentencing.

Many could be seen crying as prosecutor Lee Harris read out details of Robson’s crimes.

He said: “Mr Robson worked at two different schools at two different times, he started working at Ewell three days before the first image was taken. These images were all filmed on an iPhone.

“Mr Robson was deputy and acting head teacher for two terms [at one of these schools] and went on a number of child protection courses and knew what to look for and when to raise concerns [about child safety].”

Mr Harris told the court that after the police became aware of Robson’s crimes, the two schools were informed and so were the parents of the children who were identified in his videos and images.

A victim impact statement was read out by Mr Harris on behalf of one of the families affected.

He said: “Our two children thought going to school was a safe environment, they liked Mr Robson and trusted him. He was a good teacher.

“We were called to an organised briefing, held by the police. When I heard what had happened, my world fell apart.”

Mr Harris then read out another statement where a parent said her child “asked what a paedophile was”.

He added: “A word like that shouldn’t be in their vocabulary. He only stopped when he was caught. He did not hand himself in.”

Judge Bromley-Martin retired for about 20 minutes to consider what sentence to impose.

He said: “The moving images themselves are unsophisticated in their execution, there are brief glimpses of backsides and genitalia of those involved.

“Children, their parents and the public are entitled to expect of you the protection of these young children, not for your exploitation.

“It was done covertly and right up until the day before you were arrested. Because of this I am satisfied the custody threshold has been passed and it is not possible to suspend a prison sentence.

“The offences were committed over two separate periods of time at two separate schools. These are not still images they are moving images of prepubescent children.

“There are a large number of children, a large number of families who have been affected by what you have done. This was a gross breach of trust.

“There are mitigating factors in that you have expressed remorse, full remorse for what you have done and have recognised what you have done and the damage you have caused.”

Robson was given nine months and 15 months respectively for the two counts of producing the indecent images at Surrey Hills and Ewell Castle which will run consecutively.

He was given a six month and a three month prison sentence respectively for the two charges relating to making indecent images of children.

This sentence would run concurrently with the other two counts giving a total of two years.

Before Robson was led down to the cells he was handed a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) which will last for ten years and he was placed on the sex offenders register.

He was also told to pay a £100 victim surcharge.