October 2020

Deputy headteacher avoids jail after using dark web to watch child rape videos

A former deputy headteacher of a primary school who viewed indecent images of children on the dark web has avoided jail.

Richard Swinnerton appeard at Teesside Crown Court today after admitting three counts of possession of illegal images of children.

The 31-year-old, from Coulby Newham, resigned from his job at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in Acklam, Middlesbrough.

The pervert admitted he was watching sickening abuse and rape of minors on the internet for two years before he was caught.

He said he viewed the material for “sexual gratification” on a “weekly basis” for “about half-an-hour”.

The court is told that Swinnerton was employed as a primary school teacher at the time of the offences and was also an active member of his local church.

His offences were not related to his employment at St Clare’s.

Swinnerton was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He must also undertake 35 rehabilitation activity days as well as a 27 day sex offender programme.

He must sign the sex offender register and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order – both will last 10 years.

Swinnerton was charged with the offences, which relate to online child sexual abuse imagery, following an investigation, carried out by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

September 2020

Primary school deputy head, 30, faces jail for viewing child sex abuse videos

A deputy headteacher at a primary school has admitted watching videos of child sexual abuse – including rape – on the dark web.

Disgraced Richard Swinnerton, 30, of Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough admitted he was watching sickening abuse and rape of minors on the internet for two years before he was caught.

He was eventually arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency at his home in May.

He admitted his offences and told investigators the footage he watched included adults raping children.

The paedophile from Middlesbrough later resigned from his job at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in the town.

He appeared at Teeside Magistrates’ Court today (Monday) and admitted three counts of possession of illegal images of children relating to category A (the most severe), category B and category C.

The court heard when officers arrested him they seized his laptop which contained 87 Category A videos of child abuse.

He will be sentenced at Teeside Crown Court at a later date.

Speaking after his guilty pleas, the NCA said he used TOR software (The Onion Router) to make himself anonymous on the dark web.

Swinnerton was granted conditional bail until he appears at the higher court for sentencing. The conditions are:

  • To reside at his home address

  • No contact with anyone under the age of 18

  • No unsupervised context with any dependant children

  • No access to internet that hides the user of the device

  • Provide any internet enabled devices to any police or National Crime Agency officers on request