February 2015

‘Double-life’ of music teacher who had 5,000 indecent child images

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A MUSIC teacher at a Hull school was caught with more than 5,000 indecent images of children on his computer

Mark Scullion, 40, taught at Thomas Ferens Academy, in Orchard Park, until his arrest.

He was caught with more than 5,352 images on his computer at his Beverley home.

It is likely he will be banned from working with children for the rest of his life.

Judge Michael Mettyear, sitting at Hull Crown Court, told Scullion: “You were, for a long time, a music teacher and it seems you were successful and well thought of during that work.

“But for at least part of that time, you were leading a double life, pretending to be respectable, pretending to be law-abiding, when you were, in fact, involved in the downloading of these disgraceful images of children.

“It will be horrible for parents of the children you taught to think back, knowing a person they trusted, was engaged in that sort of activity.”

The indecent images were of children aged seven to 15. Officers also found one extreme image involving a dog.

Scullion pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing indecent photographs, one count of possessing and distributing indecent photographs and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image.

The distribution charge related to Scullion using “peer-to-peer” file-sharing programmes on his computer, which he originally used to download music.

Defending Scullion, who gave the court an address in Bretton, near Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, Robin Smith said his client had lost everything as a result of his perverse interest, including his marriage.

“His marriage fell apart rather quickly and a divorce is imminent,” said Mr Smith. “He has a son and since these allegations came to light, he has seen nothing of him. That is one of the most distressing aspects of this case for him.

“He has had a long time to think about these matters and he is extremely distressed. He cannot explain why he got into viewing these images.”

Jailing Scullion for two years, Judge Mettyear told him: “There is no evidence you were involved in direct contact with these children or you abused them, but abused they were.

“It is a fact that people who want to download this material, encourage abusers to do what they do.

“This has completely changed your life, but you brought it on yourself. You are an intelligent man, you knew it was wrong and inappropriate and you continued to do it.”

Scullion was suspended from his post as soon as he was arrested.

Hull City Council says there is no evidence to suggest any of the offences relate to his pupils.

Paul Dyson, the Independent Chairman of Hull’s Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB), said: “As soon as he was arrested, he was immediately suspended from duty by the Academy.

“Local Hull Safeguarding Children Board agencies are already taking the necessary action to ensure that, in addition to his custodial sentence, he is barred from working with children in any capacity in the future.

“There is no evidence to suggest Mr Scullion’s offences relate to any local pupils, past or present.

“The academy and other members of the HSCB have worked closely with the police throughout this case.

“The outcome reflects the determination to ensure people who download indecent images of children will be prosecuted and punished.”

Scullion must also sign the sex offenders register.