January 2003

Vendetta’ saves porn teacher from jail

The head of a school’s physics department was spared a prison sentence on child pornography charges because a judge felt he had already suffered enough at the hands of neighbours

Timothy Coldwell, 31, resigned from the King’s School, Peterborough – founded by Henry VIII in 1541 and now a Church of England comprehensive – after his name was one of hundreds handed to British authorities by the FBI in a crackdown on internet paedophile sites.

Coldwell had pleaded guilty to 16 charges of downloading indecent images of children on his computer and asked for 56 other offences to be considered. Judge Isobel Plumstead, who sentenced him at Peterborough Crown Court, heard that his neighbours in Newborough, near Peterborough, had signed a petition calling on him to move. Acid was poured over his car.

The judge said: “You have been victimised by the ignorance of those whose own personal lives might not bear closer examination.” Coldwell was given a three-year community rehabilitation order and placed on a list forbidding him to teach children. His name will also be put on the Sex Offenders’ Register.