November 2019

Brave schoolgirl stands up and tells paedophile teacher exactly what she thinks of him

A teacher who told a girl to call him ‘sir’ as he molested her has been jailed for more than four years.

Paul Danby’s victim bravely stood up to him in court, calling him a ‘disgusting predator’ during his sentencing hearing at Isleworth Crown Court.

Danby, 35, was her teacher at Holland Park School, west London, and groomed her by pretending to give her extra help.

Now, 19, his victim told him: ‘I just wanted to say I hope you understand the impact of what you’ve done.

‘I was a vulnerable child that was completely taken advantage of from year seven aged 12 to the time of being molested aged 14 to 15.

‘He made me think that it was our special secret and I’ve lost connection with everybody from my secondary school.

‘When I did finally realise what happened to me I was 16, I became depressed; I had constant suicidal thoughts, self harm and body dysmorphia.

‘This should have been a happy time in my life but was filled with disappointment and loathing and felt I was disappointing my parents for not being able to do what normal 16-year-olds do and achieve their potential.

‘Not one day since the abuse began in 2014 that I haven’t thought about what happened. The stress and daily flashbacks often stop me from sleeping and cause me to have anxiety attacks and nightmares. ‘When I’m in public and see someone who looks like him I feel nauseous.

‘I carried on education because I realised I couldn’t let one disgusting predator ruin my life and prospects. I’m destroyed emotionally and it’s a daily struggle for me and when I talk about it I can’t stop crying.

‘I was not properly safeguarded and a person in a position of trust completely abused me and robbed me of my childhood.’

Judge Hannah Duncan said: ‘You spent increasing amounts of time with her, initially to help her and later on in my judgement under the pretence of helping her.

‘Slowly, step by step, she trusted you and the lines between teacher and pupil blurred and your relationship began to progress – which was at first entirely inappropriate – to what was later criminal.

‘It was not marked by force or violence – you didn’t need to: you had groomed her. ‘What you’ve pleaded guilty to was not a momentary lapse of judgement: it was a ongoing course of deliberate, manipulative and cynical conduct. Over months you engineered situations where you could be alone with her.

‘When she was 15 matters became even more serious. She told you she was not ready, you apologised but it did not stop you later trying and succeeding again on other occasions at least five times. Emotionally she has been scarred.’

As well as the prison sentence, Danby was given a 10-year restraining order.