June 2018

Former teacher who abused 10-year-old schoolboy over 40 years ago has sentence cut

A paedophile ex-teacher who preyed on a 10-year-old schoolboy over 40 years ago had his sentence slashed after top judges heard he is living on borrowed time.

Donald Farms, 74, of Rock Road, Spennymoor, subjected his victim to degrading sex acts in the classroom during break time.

The teacher repeatedly abused the vulnerable boy who was “never the same again”.

Farms’ crimes dated back to the 1970s when he taught at a primary school, London’s Appeal Court heard.

He was locked up for six years at Durham Crown Court in February after admitting counts of indecent assault and gross indecency with a child.

The victim, now in his 50s, kept silent about his ordeal for decades.

After he revealed the abuse to his wife, she persuaded him to go to the police.

The court heard how the man suffered a devastating emotional toll that blighted both his childhood and adult life.

In a statement to the court, he said he had been a happy child who had “lots of friends and loved school”.

But Mr Justice William Davis said: “After the abuse, he was never the same again.”

He was left living in a state of constant “fear and dread” and suffered long-term depression.

He finally went to the police in 2016, and Farms was arrested the following year.

Farms retired from teaching in 1996 and had another indecent assault conviction on his record, dating back to the 1970s.

Courts took a very different approach to sex abuse cases at the time, and Farms was fined just £25 for that offence, said the judge.

Farms, challenged his jail term at the Appeal Court, claiming it was far too harsh.

The 74-year-old’s sentence has now been cut from six years to four years and eight months.