October 2012

A former religious education teacher has been given a community order after he breached an order that prevents him from having contact with children. Magistrates heard how 58-year-old Donald Hunt had worked alongside primary school pupils on a stall at a farmers’ market.

This put him in breach of a court order which specifically forbids him from contacting children, imposed in 2006 after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy while he was a teacher in Lancashire in the 1980s. Hunt had denied the breach offence, claiming he had no idea children would attend the village hall event.

September 2012

DANGEROUS PAEDOPHILE HAD CUMBRIAN SCHOOL PUPILS HELPING HIM ON MARKET STALL

A child sex offender banned from contact with under 16s had school pupils helping him on his stall at a farmers’ market.

Donald Hunt, 58, was convicted in 2006 of a sexual assault on a 14-year-old pupil at a school in Lancashire and was not allowed to be with children under 16 unsupervised, under the terms of his sex offences prevention order.

But the former head of RE at Whitehaven School was back in court after he was accused of breaching the order by going to a school in west Cumbria between April 4 last year and March 28 this year.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard how Hunt, of Gosforth Road, Seascale, had gone to Holme St Cuthbert’s Primary School, at Mawbray, to help at a farmers’ market last June. He was working for the Lakeland Cheese Company and had a stall at the market.

Prosecutor Andrew Travis said Hunt was responsible for the cheese company’s shop and attended farmers’ markets to do promotion work.

Primary school headmistress Sheila Daniel told the court that she spoke to Hunt over the phone to explain about the event and asked him to bring samples of cheese.

“I told him the pupils were organising the event and they would sell the produce, set the stalls up and do the cashing up,” she said.

Hunt, however, claimed he could not remember her telling him that children would be there.

During the four-hour trial, the court heard how two girls helped out on his stall and a boy came to help. There was no suggestion he had done anything wrong at the market, the court heard, simply that he shouldn’t have been there.

Mr Travis said Hunt had also failed to tell the cheese company of his conviction when he applied for the job.

Geoff Lockerbie, defending, said Hunt would “not have gone to this market if he had known children would be involved”.

Hunt denied breaching his order, saying he could not remember reading the actual sexual offences order. He admitted, with “hindsight”, he knew he shouldn’t have been there.

Hunt was described by the sentencing judge in Lancashire as a “dangerous paedophile” who abused his position of trust after he indecently assaulted a boy in a storeroom at a school in Lancashire 1984.

He was suspended from his post at Whitehaven in September 2004 after the legal proceedings began.

Earlier in 2000, he had been given a formal warning at Whitehaven after he approached a 12-year-old boy about underwear modelling. He took the boy to a storeroom and asked him if he had the body to model before lifting up the boy’s shirt.

He will be sentenced on October 17.

July 2006

TEACHER WHO ABUSED PUPIL GETS 9 MONTHS

TEACHER has been jailed for nine months after being convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old pupil.

At Preston Crown Court yesterday – more than 20 years after the attack took place – Donald Hunt’s victim said: “I’m glad we’ve finally nailed him.”

The 52-year-old was sacked as head of religious education at Whitehaven School after his conviction last month of indecently assaulting a boy in a storeroom in 1984 at Rhyddings High School in Oswaldtwistle.

The court also heard that in 2000 Hunt was given a formal warning at Whitehaven School after he approached a 12-year-old boy about underwear modelling. He took the boy to a storeroom and asked him if he had the body to model before lifting up the boy’s shirt.

Judge Andrew Gilbart QC said Hunt was a “despicable man” who had “abused his position of trust”.

Hunt’s victim, now 35-years-old, described him as a “dangerous paedophile”.

In addition to jail, Hunt, a married father of three, was also ordered to sign a sexual offence prevention order, forbidding him from approaching or contacting any young male.

Hunt began his career as a teacher in 1979 at Rhyddings before moving on to Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School in 1990.He had been based in Whitehaven since 1999 and lives in nearby Seascale.

Sentencing , Judge Gilbart said: “It gives me not the slightest pleasure to have to sentence you. You are a gifted teacher and you are a man who has achieved great things for a great many pupils.

“But part of the essence of being a school master is that those that trust their children to your care must be able to rely on your proper conduct. This boy was vulnerable and you knew that.”

Judge Gilbart revealed that he had received 25 character references on behalf of Hunt, who has been an active member of the Christian church in Lancashire and Cumbria for all of his adult life. His wife Sylvia has pledged to stand by him.

At Preston Crown Court a jury heard that Hunt had lured the boy into a storeroom before a lesson.

Hunt told the youngster that he was to perform a role-play exercise in the class where he would pretend to have been sexually assaulted.

Once the pair were in the store room Hunt told the boy to pull down his underpants inside his trousers before he put his hand into one of the boy’s pockets and touched him.

During the case Hunt always denied the assault but the jury heard from a string of witnesses with similar stories.