St Albans and Radlett supply teacher’s jail term for underwear obsession
- Credit: Archant
A SUPPLY teacher obsessed with secretly filming primary school children in their underwear has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
John King, 50, used a hidden camera to record youngsters at 11 schools in Hertfordshire, including some in St Albans and Radlett that cannot be named for legal reasons, across a five-year period between 2003 and 2008.
The PE teacher, from Leighton Buzzard, kept diaries detailing the sexual gratification he got from the filming – describing it as “his life’s work”.
Prosecuting, Michael Speak told St Albans Crown Court on Friday that King used “somewhat poetic terms about underpants and the purity of the whiteness of them”.
When King was charged with 21 counts of creating, possessing and distributing indecent images of children police found 66 pairs of boys’ underwear in his rucksack.
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Judge Stephen Gullick noted King was not interested in nudity but the underwear.
The prosecutor agreed, stating: “What’s important is the defendant’s interest in the clothing itself which he speaks about a great deal rather than what you have put lies underneath.
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“That’s the case with all the footage he filmed himself.”
King claims to not have been interested in abusing the children, and is a virgin.
But he made still images from his films and sent them to another paedophile, whose arrest focused attention on King.
When police traced the footage they raided his two canal boats – The Jellicle Moon, where he lived, and The Spirit of Langley – and a garage.
Inside the garage they discovered the diaries but could not locate his films.
A reference to animals or weather damaging “his life’s work” in his jottings led them to searching the river bank near where the Spirit of Langley was moored in Leighton Buzzard. It was there they discovered containers concealing the movies.
Officers also found a memory stick containing child pornography, featuring indecent images of juveniles.
King had pleaded guilty to all the charges at a previous hearing.
Defence lawyer Giuseppena Silvio told the court King said: “There can be no greater remorse than my [disappointment] of what I have done and I am not asking for any leniency from the courts.”
She also said: “There was no intention to harm the children physically.”
Sentencing Judge Gullick said King’s “life would not have been worth living” if the children’s parents discovered the filming and his situation was made worse because he edited, then sent them.
He said: “I think your time in prison will not be easy at all.
“I accept there was no physical harm to the children but the fact is if they did know they have been surreptitiously photographed by one of their teachers which will understandably have some effect on them.”
As well as the jail term King was given an indefinite Sexual Offenders Prevention Order, disqualified from working with children and has to tell police if he moves home.