Primary school deputy head watched videos of children being raped

A primary school deputy headteacher has admitted watching child sex abuse videos online.

Richard Swinnerton, 30, viewed the sickening images — which included rape — for two years on the dark web before being caught. 

He was eventually arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency at his Middlesbrough home in May. The paedophile admitted his offences and told investigators the footage he watched included adults raping children and later resigned from his job at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School in the town.

He appeared at Teeside Magistrates’ Court on 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 that 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 The Onion Router (TOR) software to make himself anonymous on the dark web.

Officers have found no evidence to suggest that any of the images were made at the school and there is no allegation of physical abuse.

NCA operations manager Julie Booker said: ‘Swinnerton had gone to considerable lengths using TOR to commit his offences and thought he was anonymous on the dark web.

‘Offenders who view child sexual abuse are contributing to ever more children being abused and condemning them to years of extreme trauma and suffering.’

She continued: 

‘Every child in an abuse image is re-victimised when the photograph is viewed or shared.

‘Protecting children from sexual abuse and stopping paedophiles is a top priority for the NCA.’

After the hearing, a St Clare’s school spokesperson said: ‘This has been an upsetting matter for parents, carers, staff and the wider St Clare’s community.

‘We are grateful for the support we have received from them and we continue to assure them that the wellbeing and safety of children of St Clare’s remains our priority at all times.

‘It is also important to reiterate that this former employee’s offences were not in connection with his employment at the school.’

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