October 2015

Retired teacher escapes jail after downloading hundreds of videos and pictures of child abuse

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A retired teacher has avoided jail despite downloading hundreds of images and videos of vile child abuse.

Shamed William Craig, 70, was handed a three-year community order after he admitted possessing and downloading the sickening files from the internet.

The pensioner, who has no previous convictions, worked as an English teacher at Walkden High School in Salford for 30 years until his retirement in 2006.

A court heard he had found the material while reading a film blog on the internet.

Following a tip-off, police raided Craig’s home on Woodfield Drive, in Worsley .

Officers seized two mobile phones on which they found a series of films and videos featuring child abuse, including some rated ‘category A,’ the most serious kind.

On one of the seized phones police found one ‘category A’ video, four other videos and 84 pictures all featuring child abuse.

On the second phone police found the same ‘category A’ video, as well as other clips and 200 more pictures of child abuse, prosecutor Robert Lynch told Manchester magistrates .

Caroline Wilbraham, defending, told the court her client was ‘totally ashamed’ of his conduct.

She added: “He didn’t realise the harm that could have occurred. Now he realises the children concerned have no control. He’s fully aware of the harm now and he’s never going to do it again.”

Craig had been reading a blog about a Spanish film when he first downloaded the material, said Ms Wilbraham.

The videos and pictures featured teenage boys performing sex acts on themselves, the court heard.

The court had the power to jail Craig, who is single and has no children, for up to 12 months but he avoided custody.

District judge Khalid Qureshi handed Craig a three-year community order which includes a requirement to attend a sex offenders’ treatment programme after the defendant admitted two counts of downloading indecent images.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.