PE teacher and wife ran brothel where both were for hire
A PE teacher has been jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to running a brothel where both he and his wife worked as prostitutes.
Tim Blake-Bowell, who taught at King Ethelbert School in Birchington, near Margate, Kent, admitted controlling a group of prostitutes for financial gain in a flat he rented in Canterbury. He was suspended from his job following his arrest in December 2007.
His ex-wife Emma also pleaded guilty, but was given a suspended sentence because she had been in a vulnerable state of mental health and had come under pressure from her husband.
Mr Blake-Bowell, 47, ran the financial side of the criminal operation, paying six women who sold sex, including his wife, and taking care of rent and bills, Canterbury Crown Court was told.
His wife, who had worked as an escort in the city since 2004, was in charge of the day-to-day running of the business, which included acting as a receptionist, working out rotas and introducing clients.
Mr Blake-Bowell did not show any emotion as he was led from the dock.
The couple spent Pounds 1,400 a month advertising their services in local newspapers under the name "Pandora's" or "Jem's", offering "discreet personal services for males or females by males or females for men, women or couples of all persuasions".
During police questioning, Mr Blake-Bowell claimed he had started the brothel in June 2006 in order to give his wife some financial independence and so that she could work in a safe, controlled environment, having had bad experiences in the sex industry in the past.
The couple also said they had set up the brothel as a co-operative for women working individually, and denied making a profit themselves.
But this argument was dismissed by Judge Adele Williams. "This was organised prostitution, which is a criminal offence. I accept that there is no evidence of coercion or corruption and there were no illegal immigrants or underage girls, but you did this for money," she said.
"Your overheads were approximately Pounds 2,000 a month and in my judgment you would not have continued with this enterprise unless you were making a profit."
Judge Williams told Mr Blake-Bowell that a custodial sentence was "inevitable" for him.
"There was an element of pressure put on your wife by you by reason of her particular history," she told him. "I have taken into account that this was a volatile relationship and that each of you called out the police to deal with domestic violence situations."
During mitigation, the court heard that Ms Blake-Bowell suffered an abusive childhood and had a violent relationship with her partner, before Mr Blake-Bowell, who fathered her eldest two children.
She met Mr Blake-Bowell while living in a women's refuge in Canterbury and had two children with him. The couple separated following their arrest.
Pre-sentencing assessments on Mrs Blake-Bowell found that she suffered from clinical depression and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder because of her difficult background.