Headteacher jailed over indecent images of teenage girl

Judge said head abused the trust placed in teachers 'in a way that would truly offend and shock' any right-minded person

Tes Reporter

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A headteacher has been jailed after admitting the sexual exploitation of a teenage girl and possessing indecent images.

John Stubbins, 44, was headteacher at a County Durham primary school when he developed a "self-destructive infatuation" with a girl, who was then aged 16, a court was told. 

The mother of the victim told the court that her teenage daughter's dreams of going to a top university "have been shattered" as a result of the sexual exploitation she suffered from Mr Stubbins. 

Addressing Durham Crown Court, the woman told how her teenage girl has lost trust in teachers and has suffered mood swings after exchanging intimate images of herself with Mr Stubbins.

Mr Stubbins, a father of two, had previously admitted to two counts of sexual exploitation, one of possessing an indecent image of category B, and another of possessing 16 category C indecent images of the teenager.

Jailing Stubbins for two years and two months and ordering him to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: "Young people are the future of the nation.

"Society depends on teachers and society needs the best of us to come forward as teachers at our schools.

"It is a privilege to hold that trust, and you abused it in a way that would truly offend and shock any right-thinking person."

The judge added that the defendant would have been aware that the offences, which occurred between February and March 2017, were potentially "career-ending".

The mother of the girl, who was not a pupil at the school that Stubbins taught at, said her daughter had been an A-grade student prior to getting involved with him but had seen her performance at school suffer as a result of stress.

She told the court the teenager had been "very private, very naive and very studious" prior to meeting the then-headteacher, describing her as a "very young 16-year-old".

Crying throughout her victim impact statement, the mother said: "She is now really clingy with me and does not go out, in fact, I think she had only been out three times this year."

She added that the teenager, now 17, "has no trust in her teachers and has terrible mood swings".

"Her skin has even suffered from the stress, as a result of what John Stubbins has done to her," the witness added.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds described how the defendant, of St Cuthbert's Road, Gateshead, had exchanged thousands of messages with the girl.

The court heard how, following his arrest in March 2017, Stubbins was suspended from the school he was working at.

Peter Walsh, defending, said of Stubbins: "He has inflicted severe wounds on himself, and the salt on those wounds is the effect that it has on those around him."

Following the sentencing, a spokesman for the NSPCC said: "Stubbins cruelly exploited his victim and, as a headteacher, he would have known full well the devastating effects that such abuse can have.

"It is vital that his victim now receives all the support she needs to move forward."


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