A 'manipulative and predatory' former head teacher who sexually abused a teenage boy and secretly filmed primary school pupils naked in a changing room has been jailed.
Douglas Speight, 44, also known as ‘Duggie’, was a respected teacher for more than 20 years but hid a ‘very dark secret’, a court heard.
Bradford Crown Court was told how Speight, who was a head of a school in Yorkshire which can’t be named for legal reasons, groomed a 15-year-old boy during lockdown.
The court heard how Speight abused four boys and his offending came to light when his eldest victim confided in a friend after being ‘changed by the abuse'.
The victim's mother said Speight "stole her son’s innocence" and "destroyed" their lives.
When the police searched the former teacher's home, they found a computer and phones hidden behind a picture and an air vent which contained videos of the boy which were filmed in secret.
The court was told the devices contained footage of Speight having sex with the boy as well as videos of boys aged around 10 changing at a swimming pool.
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Speight initially denied any sexual activities but eventually admitted to the investigators that he had abused the boy.
The boy’s mother told the court that Speight had destroyed her son’s life, and she no longer trusted anyone and was ‘paranoid and terrified’ for her son.
In an impact statement, the boy's mother said Speight "stole her son’s innocence".
She said: “Speight destroyed my happy family life. He used my friendship and trust and twisted it.
"He stole my son's innocence and we can never get it back."
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Speight pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including sexual activity with a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, making indecent images of a child and voyeurism.
He was jailed for 12 years with an eight-year extended licence period and ordered to sign on the sex offender register for life.
Jailing him, Judge Richard Mansell QC said: “You were well respected and liked by your colleagues, the pupils and their parents. But your public persona hid a very dark secret, in that you are a highly dangerous, predatory, manipulative paedophile with a sexual interest in young boys.”
Prosecutor Tom Storey told the court how Speight became friends with the boy's family and offered to tutor his victim.
But he would often ply the youth with alcohol and take him out and buy him expensive gifts including clothes and a laptop in his grooming campaign.
He would give the boy alcohol and take him out and buy him expensive presents, including clothes and a laptop.
Julian White, defending, said in mitigation that Speight had destroyed his own life and reputation.
He added that Speight was ‘highly thought of’ as a headteacher but he was ‘incapable of expressing any rationale’ for his behaviour.
Senior Investigating officer at North Yorkshire Police, Detective Superintendent Fran Naughton, told Yahoo News UK: “I am satisfied with today’s sentencing. However, nothing will take away the amount of suffering caused by the actions of Speight.
“I praise the victim who came forward to police. Their immense bravery meant we were able to investigate Speight, bring him to justice, and no doubt save others from falling victim to his offending.
“This case was an example of grooming at its very worst. A headteacher is meant to be a role model and respected member of the community but instead Speight’s abhorrent offending and abuse of position has destroyed trust within the local community and caused harm to many people.
“This was a complex and extremely sensitive investigation. I thank the families involved and members of the community for their patience whilst we brought this to a conclusion. We have worked with the school and multiple partner agencies to safeguard those involved and provide wider support. To reassure parents who may be concerned that their child may have been subject of his recordings, we have identified the children in those images and have spoken to their families and offered them support.
“I hope Speight’s conviction and today’s sentencing gives confidence to anyone who is, or who has been, a victim of this type of crime to come forward. I also encourage anyone who has serious concerns about a child to contact police by dialling 101. We have specially trained officers who are on hand to help and provide support, and we will do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice.”
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