July 2012

 Man found with child abuse images can work with kids

A FORMER teacher sacked after downloading images of child abuse onto a school computer is now allowed to work with young people again. 

Jonathon Saunders, 42, of Cherwell Drive, Chelmsford, was sacked from James Hornsby School, in Basildon, after he downloaded almost 500 indecent images of children

He appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday to vary the conditions of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) imposed in April last year. 

The court heard that Saunders was planning to change career and become a graphic designer, but defence barrister Mark Brown said the order would need to be altered. 

The order placed strict limitations on his use of computers and his ability to work with or in the company of children. 

It was put in place last year after a judge heard that the images Saunders downloaded included children as young as four being abused. 

The images were discovered after Saunders used his credit card to pay for the images. 

He saved some of the images alongside his pupils’ work on a laptop given to him by James Hornsby School. 

Saunders worked at James Hornsby for three years and had previously taught at the FitzWimarc School, in Rayleigh. 

Saunders initially denied downloading the images and tried to shift the blame, telling police that his wife also used the computer. 

He eventually admitted the offences and told police he had ‘an addiction to internet pornography’. 

In the hearing yesterday, barrister Mr Brown said that working in a graphic design office, Saunders might come into contact with young people carrying out work experience. 

A Crown Prosecution Service barrister agreed that there were very few jobs that did not involve occasional interaction with children. 

Judge Owen Davies said Saunders’ human rights had to be preserved and ruled that he could work with young people as long as his employer or supervisor was aware of his conviction and the contents of his SOPO. 

He also removed a clause which demanded that Saunders’ internet access be subject to monitoring or restricting software. 

April 2011

Teacher caught with child sex abuse images

A TEACHER who downloaded hundreds of child abuse images on a school computer has been spared jail.

Jonathon Saunders, 40, from Cherwell Drive, Chelmsford, used laptops owned by James Hornsby School, Laindon, where he was head of media, to access 463 sex abuse pictures, involving children as young as four.

Saunders searched “Essex teens” on internet search engines and paid to join an online group providing indecent images of children.

On Tuesday, at Basildon Crown Court, he was handed a three-year community order and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years. He admitted three counts of possessing child porn at an earlier hearing.

Saunders spent three years at James Hornsby School before being sacked when the offences came to light last year.

He previously taught performing arts at FitzWimarc School, Rayleigh, and worked at the former Thorpe Bay School in 2000, as well as training as a yoga teacher.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, told the court Essex Police raided Saunders’ former home in Harrow Road, Wickford, where he lived with his wife, on May 5 last year following a tip-off.

Officers discovered an Apple Macbook, compact computer and two external hard-drives containing the porn. Indecent images are graded from level one to five, with five being the most serious.

Saunders has 374 images at level one, 84 at level two, three at level three and two at level four.

Saunders told police he would take the computers, containing the images, into James Hornsby School and use them to store pupils’ work.

In mitigation Paul Kaufman said: “It is clear the images sought out were teenage females – the names of the files don’t indicate they’re going to be that young.”

Judge Christopher Mitchell, sentencing, told Saunders: “You’ve lost your professional job and will never go back into that field again.”

The judge also ordered Saunders to complete a sexual offenders programme.

After the offences came to light, Saunders moved to Station Road, Westcliff, and now lives in Chelmsford.

James Hornsby School suspended then dismissed him after being informed. No-one at the school was available for comment.

Union Yoga has revoked his teacher training certificate following the outcome of the case.