June 2021

‘Cynical and highly manipulative’ former teacher jailed for sexual offences against boys

A “cynical and highly manipulative” former Hampshire teacher has been jailed after committing a number of sexual offences against two teenage boys.

Julius Edwards, formerly of Queens Road, Farnborough, “exploited” the vulnerability of his victims, one of whom described him as a “puppet master”.

Edwards, 49, “sought out teenage boys online, looking for the vulnerable”, encouraging them to exchange explicit sexual messages and images with him.

He then persuaded the victims, aged 13 and 14 at the time, to meet him in person and engage in sexual acts, leaving them “devastated by the trauma”.

Edwards was a science teacher, but these victims were not his students. He taught at the Dove House School in Basingstoke at the time of his arrest.

The “predatory paedophile” committed the sexual offences against the boys between March and April in 2020, and was convicted of 18 offences in April this year.

These included:

  • three counts of sexual activity with a boy under 16;

  • nine counts of engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a boy under 16;

  • one count of sexual assault by penetration;

  • three counts of attempting to engage in penetrative sexual activity with a boy under 16; and

  • two counts of failure to comply with a notice to provide a key.

Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sexual communication with a child at an earlier hearing, bringing the total number of offences to 19.

A sentencing hearing at Kingston Crown Court on Friday (June 4) heard how Edwards presented himself as “a caring adult”, but then groomed and sexually abused the victims.

Judge Peter Lodder said Edwards “exploited” the second victim’s vulnerabilities. He encouraged him to talk about sex, exchange intimate images, and persuaded the boy to meet him.

Addressing Edwards, Judge Lodder added: “On 8th or 9th April, you picked him up in your car, took him to a wooded area north of Guildford, and there pressed him into intimacy.”

Edwards “boasted” that he had “done these things with other lads”, including the first victim.

Sexual messages and pictures were exchanged between Edwards and the first victim, before he picked him up and drove him to a remote location for sexual activity.

A statement from the first victim read aloud in court said: “I was a really happy child until he took that from me. I have felt a sadness ever since. I cry more now than ever before.

“Since it happened, every time I go outside I feel nervous and anxious. I can’t trust anyone. I can’t trust teachers at my school because I know he [Edwards] is a teacher.”

The statement added: “He made me talk about my sex life as a 13-year-old to so many different people and my parents. This has been ultra embarrassing and upsetting.”

The court heard how Edwards “bragged” about a third boy, called ‘Liam’, who was in fact an undercover police officer pretending to be an underage child, aged 13.

Edwards approached ‘Liam’ using the name ‘don’t be shy’ online, and continued “in exactly the same way” as with the other two victims and “repeatedly” asked to meet.

On June 15, 2020, after his arrest, Edwards was asked to provide PIN codes to allow police to access his mobile devices, however he refused to do so.

He additionally submitted an application to change his name by deed poll while in prison awaiting trial, in an attempt to “try to conceal his true identity”, the judge said.

He then made an application to change his passport with that new name. However, the Passport Office was “suspicious” and it came to the attention of the officer involved in the case.

Addressing Edwards, Judge Lodder added: “Clearly this was an attempt to avoid the consequences of restrictions that would be imposed as a result of your offending.

“It is activity which is entirely consistent with the picture you present of a cynical and highly manipulative offender.”

Judge Lodder sentenced Edwards to 14 years in prison, with an extended license term of four years, and granted a restraining order in relation to the two victims.

He was also given a Sexual Harm Protection Order (SHPO) and ordered to pay a victim surcharge.