April 2011

PE teacher who called himself ‘Salford stallion’ faces jail for sex with underage girl pupils

A deputy head teacher who dubbed himself the ‘Salford Stallion’ as he slept with three of his pupils was today jailed for six years.

Christopher Drake, 29, was only caught  having affairs with two pupils at the same time when one called at his home on Valentine’s Day and found him in bed with the other.

He had begun seeing the girls when both were 14, having sex with them in his office, in the sports hall and even at the parents’ home of one, a court heard yesterday. 

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Mort told Drake he received his ‘comeuppance in spectacular fashion’ when two of the girls discovered he was two-timing them.

It emerged that Drake had been having sex with both his students since they were aged 14 and had also slept with a 16-year-old girl he taught at Hesketh Fletcher Church of England High School in Atherton, Greater Manchester.

The PE master would arrange to meet the girls via text message or over Facebook and film himself having sex with them. 

Drake also told the girls to take explicit photographs and videos of themselves and send them by Bluetooth to his mobile phone after classes.

Judge Mort told the defendant: ‘The critical factor is the age gap. You were 12 years older than them. That is a considerable age gap.

‘You were a young man, quite immature, but there was a classic breach of trust in having relationships with pupils which you knew you should not be doing.’

On one occasion, he was caught having sex with one on school premises but not sacked. 

On another, one of the girls performed a sex act on him in a hotel corridor on a school trip.

Eventually one of the girls confronted him with rumours that he was having sex with the other. But he denied this – and said he loved her and wanted to marry her.

However, on Valentine’s Day last year he was exposed, after taking one of the girls – then 15 – back to his flat for sex after decorating it with rose petals and arranging bondage equipment in the bedroom.

The other girl, now 16, had gone camping with friends, but the weather was poor and she decided to call round at Drake’s. She arrived at 3.30am and discovered her classmate inside.

She accused him of ‘two-timing’ her and burst out into the corridor screaming and trying to call police, but couldn’t get a signal on her phone

Drake – who had pulled out a knife and threatened to injure himself – put his hand over her mouth and dragged her back inside. But by then neighbours had dialled 999 and he was arrested.

Yesterday a court heard he admitted 25 offences including unlawful sexual activity with a child and taking indecent photographs. 

Drake, who is the son of a local Liberal Democrat councillor, was sentenced to three years each in jail for the sexual offences involving the two girls who he started seeing from the age of 14. He received concurrent terms for the remaining offences.

The judge said Drake had received ‘glowing references’ from his ‘loving’ family and friends, but added: ‘There was no doubt that the area of your training must have covered the potential danger of inappropriate relationships with pupils.

‘You being a secondary school teacher were a role model and in a position of trust.

‘You are there to help them and teach them, not to take advantage of them.’

He was hired as a PE teacher at the secondary school, where his good rapport with pupils saw him quickly promoted.

Christopher Drake slept with three pupils at Hesketh Fletcher High School, in Atherton, Greater Manchester, where he was given the nickname ‘the Salford Stallion’

He was made a ‘head of house’ responsible for years seven to 11, and in 2009 became an acting deputy head teacher, Minshull Street Crown Court, in Manchester, was told.

The court heard that ‘Salford Stallion’ was a nickname both Drake and his pupils liked to use for him. 

By the time of his unmasking, pupils had begun circulating rumours about his ‘flirtatious’ behaviour towards girls, and last summer after his arrest, a third came forward saying she had previously had sex with him.

She too was 14 when he began giving her lifts home and commenting on her appearance, saying, ‘You look fit today’, or, ‘Your ass looks nice in that’, the court heard.

He obtained her mobile phone number and initially sent anonymous ‘smiley’ faces then messages signed ‘Salford Stallion’.

She was ‘smitten’, and in May 2007, when she was 16, he took her to a friend’s flat and they had sex. The two girls who found out about each other on Valentine’s Day would tell their parents that they were visiting friends, instead going to his flat for sex.

One now describes herself as having been ‘young, naïve and clueless’.

There he would film them having sex on his mobile phone, while telling them how to pose and becoming ‘sulky’ if they refused.

On February 14 last year, Drake was at his flat with the second of the rival teenagers. After giving her a card, he cooked her dinner and they had sex.

Rose petals were strewn on the floor, and police found furry handcuffs, bondage rope, an eye mask, condoms and Viagra tablets.

It had been a carefully staged romantic evening, said Justin Hayhoe, prosecuting, but ‘hysterical scenes’ followed when the other girl burst in.

‘He put his hand over her mouth, said, “Shut up, shut up”, and tried to reason with her not to involve police,’ he said. ‘Due to the commotion, police had already become involved.’ 

When officers arrived, she told them about the affair with Drake, who in turn accused her of blackmailing and assaulting him.

The girl who had been in the flat initially denied the affair, but later admitted it.

The judge said he had brought the teaching profession into disrepute and his career was ‘absolutely ruined’, but he did not view him as a dangerous offender.

‘Having had a spectacular fall from grace it is right to assume you have learned a very hard lesson,’ Judge Mort said. ‘I do not consider you a serious risk of repeating this behaviour. I do not think you are a dangerous offender.’

In victim impact statements, the 16-year-old who slept with Drake said he had made her feel ‘cheated, dirty, worthless and an idiot’.

The incident had impacted on her relationships and friendships and she had been the centre of gossip on social networking sites.

The second girl said she ‘does not feel good about herself now and feels embarrassed’ and has difficulty in trusting people.

The third girl, who started seeing Drake when she went to seek his guidance over a family problem, said she now felt she had been ‘naive and stupid’ and thought he had taken advantage of her trust.

Judge Mort said it was clear Drake’s victims now all had problems trusting people.

He said: ‘One hopes with the passage of time that these girls will be able to move on with their lives but it has plainly had an effect.’

Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Bill McGreavy said: ‘As a teacher, Drake was a role model to young people and held a position of trust.

‘He breached the faith placed in him by the school, pupils and their parents in the most appalling way.

‘There are no excuses whatsoever for his actions and I hope his victims and their families can move forward with their lives and try and put these events behind them now that he has been sentenced.

‘Greater Manchester Police, the school, the governors and local education authority worked together fantastically and our partnership was a true example of helping in the safeguarding of children.’

Drake has been in custody since, classed as a vulnerable sex offender. His mother Lynn, a LibDem councillor in Salford, declined to comment last night.