October 2011

Former deputy headteacher spared jail for sexual assaults

A FORMER deputy headteacher who sexually assaulted a boy has been spared jail after a plea by his victim.

Michael Page, 54, was choirmaster at St Luke’s Church in Willerby when he assaulted a teenage boy more than 20 years ago.

He went on to become deputy headteacher at Tweendykes Special School, which cares for children aged 3 to 16 with special needs, and was working at the school when the abuse came to light.

Detectives also discovered he had downloaded 813 indecent photographs and films of children, some aged just 8, while working at the school.

Humberside Police fear Page may have preyed on other children.

Detective Sergeant John Meagher said: “He has been in charge of looking after children with learning and physical disabilities.

“He may have offended against other youngsters and we would urge them to come forward.”

Hull Crown Court heard Page’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, contacted police to stop him from working with children.

In a victim impact statement, the man said: “My intention to bring Michael Page to the authorities’ attention was to seek the removal of him from working with children.

“I have lived with uncomfortable and misplaced guilt and deep bouts of confusion for 25 years, knowing I should have the courage to act and confront him or bring him to the attention of the authorities.

“His actions blighted my early teenage years, which should have been carefree.”

However, the victim appealed for Page to receive treatment for his depraved behaviour rather than be sent to prison for his crimes.

The victim said: “I have a deep belief he did not chose to have these perverse desires. However, he chose multiple times to act on them.

“In my opinion, help and counselling would be more helpful than punishment.”

When Page was arrested, he told detectives he had been waiting for them to knock on his door for decades.

Page was dismissed from the school in Tween Dykes Road, east Hull, in February.

Detectives discovered he had downloaded 487 indecent images and 326 pornographic films of children since 2004.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and seven counts of making and possessing indecent images.

Page, of Baroness Close, north Hull, was sentenced to a three-year community order and told to attend the Northumbria Sex Offender Treatment Programme.

Judge John Dowse told Page he had spared him from prison after the plea by his victim.

He added: “You abused this boy’s innocence because of your own desires. He trusted you and behind it all was your desire to be more familiar with him.

“Over a period of time, you effectively ruined him. Nothing excuses this appalling behaviour and abuse of trust.”

Page, a church organist, was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register, banned from working with children and from having unsupervised contact with anyone aged under 16.

His barrister, Anil Murray, revealed Page had been made bankrupt after losing his job.

Paul Dyson, of Hull Safeguarding Board, said: “The board and its partners work together to ensure that professionals who work with children and commit these kind of offences are brought swiftly to justice.

“In these types of cases, it is very difficult to uncover historic abuse if the victims feel unable to report it.

“There was a prompt and effective response as soon as the allegations came to light.”