July 2013

Head teacher jailed for possessing indecent images of children

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A HEAD teacher at a Derbyshire junior school secretly filmed children getting changed for swimming lessons.

Matthew Pendleton, head teacher at Kirkstead Junior School, in Pinxton, was jailed for 10 months yesterday at Derby Crown Court.

Following the court hearing, investigating officer Detective Constable Simon English said: “Pendleton was in a position of trust as head of Kirkstead Junior School and he gravely abused that position.”

Det Con English said Pendleton’s offences came to light when they discovered a computer in Alfreton was being used to access indecent images of children.

“We traced that address back to Pendleton and arrested him,” said Det Con English.

“We seized any computers and data storage devices from his house so we could conduct a detailed examination of them.

“During interview, Pendleton told officers he had secretly filmed children getting changed for swimming lessons.

“We have no reason to suspect he ever shared these particular images with anyone and we are confident that none of the children were physically abused.

“We have worked closely with staff and parents at the school during the investigation and I would like to thank them for their support.”

The 37-year-old, of Elmwood Drive, Alfreton, admitted four counts of voyeurism and 12 of making indecent images.

He must sign the sex offenders’ register and obey a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years.

After the sentencing, Alison Hardy, acting head teacher at Kirkstead Junior School, said: “We worked closely with the police to help them with their investigation and we’re pleased it has now reached a successful conclusion.

“This has been a difficult and upsetting time for everyone affected by what Matthew Pendleton has done.

“Staff, governors and parents were all shocked by his behaviour, his breach of trust and the impact on the school and local community.

“All of us at Kirkstead Junior School take the safety and interests of our pupils very seriously. Parents can be confident that we will take appropriate action where there is wrong-doing and pupils know they can talk to us if they have concerns.

“We have and will continue to work hard and do all we can to ensure every child is safe when they are at school and in our care. Importantly, we are continuing to provide a high-quality education for all our pupils so they face happy and successful futures.”

The school has 250 pupils aged between seven and 11.

Pendleton was suspended when the offences came to light.