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Paedophile teacher from Cornwall has sentence doubled

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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Richard Oldham

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A paedophile teacher who escaped with a six-month sentence after sexually assaulting pupils, secretly filming boys in the changing rooms and downloading child porn had his "soft" sentence more than doubled by top judges today.

Richard Oldham, 32, was jailed at Leeds Crown Court in September after he admitted a catalogue of offences - including sexual assaults against two 10-year-old boys as well as counts of voyeurism and making and possessing indecent images of children.

Oldham committed his crimes while teaching at primary schools in the York area, London's Appeal Court heard, but subsequently relocated to North Tamerton, Cornwall. He taught at schools around York between 2004 to 2012.

His case reached London's Appeal Court today as lawyers for the Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC, urged three judges to increase his "unduly lenient" sentence.

Oldham's sexual assault offences were committed against two youngsters, the court heard, both of whom were fondled "improperly" by him over their clothes during lessons.

The voyeurism counts stemmed from incidents in which he used a mobile phone to furtively film young boys in the changing rooms while preparing for swimming lessons. Child porn images were also found on his computer after arrest, said Lord Justice Treacy.

There were over 2,000 images in all, the court heard, and although most were not in the most serious category, some showed young children being systematically abused by adults.

When passing sentence in September, Judge Rodney Jameson QC told Oldham he had "demons to wrestle with" but that he was "confident you are man enough to do it".

"This is, in the classic sense of the word a tragedy, that someone with your ability and the good in you was not able to control successfully instincts that led you to commit these offences", the judge said.

Oldham was freed from his six-month sentence on October 2 after account was taken of time he had already spent under curfew.

Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mr Justice Wilkie and Mrs Justice Andrews, said the six-month term failed to reflect the repeated "abuses of power and trust" committed by Oldham.

He was guilty of "highly exploitative conduct against vulnerable boys who no doubt found themselves powerlesss to resist a person in authority".

"Six months was unduly lenient and failed to recognise the different types of offences committed over a period of time, and the breach of trust of victims who were under the age of 13," the judge added, upping his sentence from six to 13 months.

Oldham was taken into police custody at Launceston at 2.30pm.

Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC MP, said: “Richard Oldham abused his position of trust and acted in a way that was wholly inappropriate for a teacher, committing sexual offences against young boys who were in his charge and entitled to be safe.

“I asked the court to look again at his overall sentence and consider whether sentences for some of the offences should have been ordered to run consecutively.

"Sexual crimes, especially those which breach the trust between a pupil and teacher, should be punished appropriately.

"Today the Court sent a clear message that anyone who violates the trust of children they have been charged to look after will face the proper consequences."

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