May 2003

Storm as kiddie porn sir is freed

FURY erupted yesterday when a public school master walked free from court after admitting child porn charges.

Philip Cooke, 44 — a science teacher at £19,125-a-year Millfield School in Somerset — had more than 400 vile images downloaded from the internet on his home computer.

Cops who raided the bachelor’s home in Wells, Somerset, also found child porn movie clips. He was given a three-year community rehabilitation order by Frome magistrate John Tanner — who told him to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years. His computer must also be destroyed.

Michelle Elliott, director of child protection charity Kidscape, stormed: “He should have been jailed.”

Norman Brennan, of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: “This type of depraved behaviour disgusts society.”

Cooke was held as part of the Operation Ore crackdown on internet perverts.

He also taught fencing and was a house “parent” to boarders at the school — whose ex-pupils include model Sophie Dahl, DJ Tony Blackburn and royal cad James Hewitt.

Cooke quit when charges were brought.