Community order for teacher over child porn offence

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The Independent Online

The vice-principal of Diana, Princess of Wales's former school was given a three-year community order today after admitting to possessing indecent images of a pupil.

A judge told William Whillock he had committed "a very grave breach of trust" in exchanging intimate text messages with the teenage girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.



The 57-year-old was suspended from his role as vice principal at The New School in West Heath, near Sevenoaks, Kent, following his arrest in January.



Maidstone Crown Court heard how staff at the school, which now educates children with emotional and behavioural problems, were alerted after the girl accidentally left her mobile phone behind. A teacher looked at it as she had previously noticed the teenager had written "I love Bill" on one of her school folders and suspected this referred to Whillock.



On the phone she found a number of sexual photographs of the girl, and saw they had been sent to Whillock, a co-founder of the school and also its designated child protection officer.



The teacher also saw text messages sent between the pair, in which Whillock called the girl "princess" or "gorgeous" and encouraged her to send more pictures of herself.



Prosecutor Andrew Collings said the matter was immediately referred to police and Whillock was arrested on January 14 and suspended from his position at the school.



His computer and two mobile phones were seized and examined, but the indecent photographs were only found on the phone that he had been using at the time.



A total of 14 images were found on the mobile, which the court was told were graded at level one on a scale of one to five, with level five being the most serious.





During mitigation his defence lawyer Claire Drury said that Whillock had pleaded guilty to the four counts of possessing indecent pictures of children at the earliest point possible when he appeared at the court last month.

She added that the indecent photographs were only sent during a two-week period and ended on January 9 when Whillock told her to stop, rather than it being because they had been found out.



Ms Drury said Whillock was previously "a man of truly impeccable character".



However sentencing him, Judge Philip Statman said Whillock had "degraded" the pupil and the texts he sent her "left very little to the imagination".



Addressing the defendant, he said: "Many indecent images cases regrettably come before the courts where the victims of the images remain unidentified.



"Here that is not the case, for the images that you have downloaded refer to a pupil at the school where you were deputy headmaster and had formal child protection responsibilities.



"Your victim had her own difficulties. She was roundabout the 16 to 17 age mark and of all the places where her parents would have thought she was absolutely safe, school would be that place."



Judge Statman also ordered that Whillock carry out a sex offenders programme and be banned from working with children. He was told he must not contact the victim or her family for three years.



Dressed in a grey suit and pink shirt, Whillock, of Headcorn Road, Staplehurst, showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.



Speaking outside the court, the girl's father said she had been left "suicidal" by the matter.



He said: "I think he's lucky he hasn't been put in prison, he's got off very lightly."



He added: "The school is excellent, he was just one bad apple."