February 2019

Paedophile former teacher re-offends

A paedophile former teacher once jailed for secretly filming children undressing has walked free from court after downloading and distributing indecent images.

Simon Whitfield, 58, had just been released from prison when a tip-off from Canadian authorities led police to his home in Highgate, Beverley, on October 19, 2017, Hull Crown Court heard.

Phillip Evans, prosecuting, said Whitfield was the only one living in the house, which was searched by police and resulted in the seizure of his Acer laptop.

Analysis showed he had downloaded six indecent photographs between September 17 and October 1, 2015, and had also used Skype to distribute two category C images on the latter date.

Mr Evans said the offences were committed against “a background of conversations on what are called chat logs of a highly prurient nature involving the abuse of nine-year-old children”.

He had appeared under the name Simon Knowles when he was jailed for four and a half years at York Crown Court on April 25, 2013 for similar offences, as well as 11 counts of voyeurism.

The voyeurism related to him filming children getting changed for PE at a school in West Yorkshire – using tiny spy cameras hidden in a pen and a shirt button. He accidentally caught his own face on camera

He was on licence, and subject to a sexual offences prevention order indefinitely, at the time he committed his latest offences.

Sentencing Whitfield, Judge Simon Jack told him his latest crimes were “committed not long after you were released from serving a substantial prison sentence for similar offences.

“If you had been caught and dealt with at that point you could certainly have expected an immediate prison sentence.

Whitfield was sentenced to a two-year community order, which includes attendance on the Horizon programme and 20 days rehabilitation.

He was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely, replacing the previous order, and must already register as a sex offender for life.

Whitfield, who “has a pension”, the court heard, was also ordered to pay the £500 costs of the prosecution. He offered to pay this immediately but was given 28 days.