July 2003

HEAD TEACHER JAILED OVER CHILD PORN

A HEAD teacher from Warrington, who downloaded thousands of child porn images using a school’s laptop computer, now finds his life and reputation in ruins as he begins an 18-month prison sentence.

Police who swooped on Roger Parker, head at Locking Stumps Primary, as part of international ‘net porn inquiry Operation Ore, found 36,000 images of adults and children on the laptop, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Passing sentence last Friday on Parker, who had admitted 35 specimen charges of possessing indecent photographs of children, Judge John Roberts also banned him from working with children for life, leaving his teaching career in tatters.

The judge told him: “I cannot ignore the fact that you committed (these offences) while headmaster of a primary school.

“It was a gross breach of trust to those who employed you and the children in your care and their families.”

Parker, aged 50, has also lost his home as a result of the investigation – he used to live with his wife in Warrington before temporarily moving to lodgings in Crow Lane East, Newton-le-Willows. He is now staying at a caravan park in Southport.

Gerald Jones, prosecuting, said police acted on information received from Operation Ore, a joint FBI and US Postal Service probe into the large-scale distribution of child porn.

Parker used his credit card to pay $29.95 for 30 days’ access to web sites controlled by Landslide Productions Incorporated, featuring paedophilic images.

Police raided Parker’s then-home and the school, seizing the laptop and two hard drives.

Experts examined the equipment and because of the volume of material involved they stopped logging the images after 308 specimens were recovered.

Steven Swift, defending, said his client offered no excuses for his behaviour.

“They occurred against a backdrop of a failing marriage and feelings of isolation and an almost perverse sense of curiosity to access porn sites to see what was out there,” said Mr Swift.

“He looks at these offences with horror and accepts mere possession of these images simply adds to the victimisation of children.”

In a letter to the court Parker said: “I do not understand why I have done this and I only hope with professional help I can counter this terrible flaw in my character and learn to rebuild my life.”

Parker must also sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.