June 2018

Teacher convicted of making indecent photos of a child

A school teacher who downloaded hundreds of “horrible” child sexual abuse images has been spared jail

Thomas Caudell, who also downloaded an “extreme” image of a woman having sex with an animal, was said to have an “addiction” that caused a spectacular fall from grace.

The 46-year-old former technology teacher at a Tunbridge Wells school admitted three offences of making indecent photos of a child, one of possessing images and one of possessing extreme pornography.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to complete 180 hours unpaid work.

Maidstone Crown court heard police discovered Caudell, of Little Footway, Langton Green, had 59 images in the highest category of seriousness, 45 in the next highest and 686 in the least serious category.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Statman said: “At the heart of this offending conduct are children, each of whom becomes a victim of the criminality you have performed.

“Anyone who has to read, as I do all too often, a description of the images concerned in cases such as this is appalled by the description given.

“In your case, young children – girls, pre-pubescent in a situation where they are performing under the direction of adults, and where the acts of which they are party to are gross and disgusting.

“You sat in the comfort of your home and you downloaded these images for your own sexual gratification.

“Your conduct took place over a substantial period of time.

“No doubt, as you sat there in your home you never thought the time would come when there would be a knock on the door and you would be arrested for these crimes.”

But the judge said he had to “take one step back and take a cool and measured look” at what Caudell had done.

“Nonetheless, you will appreciate these offences well and truly pass the custody threshold,” he continued.

His wife of 20 years had written to the court on his behalf.

Judge Statman added: “Sentences of imprisonment are appropriate, but I draw back from sending you to prison immediately. There is in my judgement a realistic prospect that exists for your rehabilitation.

“I am persuaded there is strong personalised and individualised mitigation. I am clear this is a case where I should take an exceptional course by suspending the sentence.”

Caudell’s name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for five years and a sexual harm prevention order was made for the same period “to give the community extra protection from you”.

He will be barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

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