March 2014

Former paedophile teacher who preyed on boys now banned from areas of playparks and schools for 10 yrs

Paul Firth

A FORMER Aberdeen teacher and Scout leader who preyed on young boys has been banned from going near children’s play areas or schools for 10 years.

Paul Firth, who was jailed for eight years in 2006 for abusing boys over a 22-year-period, had a Sexual Offences Prevention Order against him granted at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The ex-assistant head of St Machar Academy in Aberdeen served just under five years of the sentence before being released, but was jailed again for three years in 2011 for using a string of fake names.

During a brief hearing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, solicitor Rachel Campbell, on behalf of Police Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House, said that 10 years was the term being sought and Sheriff Marysia Lewis granted the order.

Under the terms of the order Firth, who has been released from his latest prison sentence, has to comply with a number of conditions.

The order states he should not have contact or communication with any person under the age of 16, except when it is unavoidable.

He is also banned from entering or remaining in the vicinity of any designated children’s play areas, schools, nurseries, or for remaining in recreational facilities or public open spaces where children under 16 are present.

Firth, originally from Alford, also has to comply with other conditions such as not deleting his internet history and making devices he has that can access the web available for inspection when requested.

When Firth was due to stand trial in 2000 he fled to the Spanish enclave of Cueta on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, aboard his yacht Romalo.

Following an international hunt and TV appeals for information, he was eventually arrested and brought back to the North-east in 2003.

Due to extradition rules, Firth could only face two of the 19 original charges and he was jailed for three years.

He was released in December 2004 but, following further inquiries, he was charged by police with 27 sex offences.

In June 2006, Firth, admitted 13 indecency offences and was jailed for eight years.

The paedophile committed the crimes against the youngsters between 1974 and 1996.

Some of his victims – who were aged between eight and 16 – were Scouts.

November 2011

Sex offender Paul Firth jailed over aliases

A former teacher who molested young boys for more than two decades has been jailed again for failing to tell police he was using false names.

Paul Firth, 60, was returned to prison six months after serving just over half of an eight-year prison sentence for abusing at least 13 boys.

Firth was found guilty of a breach of the Sexual Offences Act.

He used three different names while subject to the conditions of the act between 25 May and 8 July this year.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court, evidence was led that Firth had not informed police that he wanted to use any other surnames on the correct documentation.

‘Vile and reprehensible’

But defence agent Colin Wilson said he had informed social workers before being released from prison.

And he claimed his client told a police officer on the day he got out that he was considering using other names to write about church history.

He said: “There is no doubt that Mr Firth has committed a crime in the past that is vile and reprehensible. He has been fully frank about that.

“But he is not on trial for the sins of his past.”

The jury of nine men and six women took just over 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict.

Sheriff Peter Hammond sentenced Firth, listed in court papers as a prisoner in Peterhead, to a year in prison.

But he told him that he would now be required to serve the rest of his original eight-year sentence, meaning he would remain behind bars until January 2014.

Extradited from Spain

Firth had been assistant head teacher at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and a Scout group leader.

He was sentenced in 2006 after admitting 13 charges of indecency involving boys as young as eight between 1974 and 1996.

Firth had previously been jailed for three years for similar abuse.

He was originally due to stand trial in 2000 but absconded and was later extradited from Spain.

After being released from a three-year jail term imposed in 2003 for abusing boys, he was arrested on the further charges, some of which had come to light following publicity over his case.

In the second case, the court heard some of the abuse happened on camping trips and left some of his victims needing treatment for depression and psychiatric problems.

October 2003

Teacher jailed for abusing boys

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A former assistant head teacher and scoutmaster convicted of abusing two young boys has been jailed for three years.

Paul Firth, 52, was found guilty earlier this month of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards the boys, who were aged 10 at the time.

The offences took place between 1992 and 1996 at his home near Alford in Aberdeenshire and on camping trips across Scotland.

Firth was tracked down in Spain in June this year and extradited back to Scotland, but extradition law meant that a further 17 charges of earlier child abuse had to be dropped.

At the time of the abuse he was an assistant head teacher at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and a scout group leader.

Both of his victims, now in their early 20s, had slept in a tent in his garden over a period of five nights.

During Firth’s trial, his victims told the court they had been abused from the age of 10 or 11 while on camping trips in the 1990s.

One of them told the court that he had looked on Firth as a “father figure”.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Sheriff Annella Cowan told Firth: “You abused a position of trust and betrayed two children who should have been able to rely on you to protect them.

“You are an entirely selfish individual, you do not accept these crimes took place and take no responsibilty for the actions of which the jury found you unanimously guilty.”

Firth was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.