Former Northampton deputy head found with hundreds of child abuse images on mobile phone

Police found images on devices at the Earls Barton home of the Oxford graduate

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 6:26 am
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 1:50 pm
File picture.

A former deputy headteacher at Kingsthorpe College was found by police with hundreds of indecent images on his computer and phone.

Daniel Sim, 40, held the senior leadership position at the school during the time of his offending although Northampton Crown Court heard at Thursday's (August 19) hearing that all the offences were committed online and there was no suggestion of any child at the school being involved in any way.

The offences took place while he was living in Earls Barton. Investigators found text discussions he'd had with a teenage girl where he threatened to post images of her online unless she continued sexual chat with him. She begged him not to.

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Officers executed a warrant at his home on February 22, 2019, and confiscated a mobile phone and a computer tower.

Analysis of the devices showed there were images that were not recoverable dating back to 2015. But forensic examination uncovered hundreds of images of child abuse on the phone, with 21 of them in the most serious category A.

One the computer tower's hard drive were hundreds more images, 50 of which fell into Category A.

It was also found that he had distributed 13 images of a child on an internet platform.

There were also 31 pictures and videos involving a person having intercourse with a dog.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Sim, now living in Devon, had downloaded the images between July 2018 and February 16, 2019, just three days before he was arrested.

There were also internet searches for indecent images of children and searches on how to hide your identity.

Sim pleaded guilty to ten charges in total including making indecent images, distribution of indecent images and possession of extreme pornography.

Prosecuting, barrister Victoria Rose said: "There was evidence that he had chatted to two teenage females [online] and asked for indecent images. He chatted to other members of that website clearly indicating a sexual interest in children and he appeared to trade indecent images. There was discussion as to how much the images might cost.

"There was a discussion with what appeared to be a teenage girl who's never been traced. From these messages it appeared he'd received an image from her which he had threatened to post. There were communications from her begging him not to do so.

"His response is that they can come to some sort of arrangement, that he doesn't need to post them or use them if she (she takes part in a degrading sexual act)."

An image was also discovered where the girl been asked to write a misogynistic slur on her own body.

Images were found involving a baby and of the defendant committing a sexual act with children's underwear.

Mitigating barrister Pree Brada said Sim, who had no previous convictions, had undertaken a range of sex offender courses and was having ongoing psychotherapy to address his offending. He had also recently been diagnosed with autism. She outlined character references for him.

She said he had attended Oxford University and had had a teaching career and was now working for the Open University earning £35,000 per year.

Ms Brada said her client had told her: "I can't really put it better than I feel sick about it. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's illegal and wrong and I feel shame."

She added: "Mr Sim was suffering from quite a long-standing addiction at the time which has led to his offending behaviour.

"This addiction did get the better of him. He clearly knows of the harm that's been caused and he's done everything possible to address his behaviour."

Judge Her Honour Rebecca Crane said: "You were deputy head at Kingsthorpe College and in a position of responsibility. You had searched for images and distributed them with others.

"One of the images found was of a 16-year-old girl who'd sent a sexual image which you had then threatened to post online. She pleaded with you not to post it which you agreed to if she provided that sexual chat.

"You admitted the offences in your second police interview. You said your sexual addiction had got out of control."

Judge Crane said that his probation report said that Sim had described his offending as 'pushing boundaries', adding: "You deny a sexual interest in children, saying this is just fantasy and addiction that simply controls you.

"There clearly is a sexual interest in children and you need to face up to that."

She said that when she took all his mitigation into account, as well as his guilty plea, she was satisfied his crimes could be dealt with by a non-custodial sentence.

Sim was given a two-year community order with a 25-day rehabilitation requirement, a six month mental health treatment requirement and 100 hours of unpaid work.

He will be made the subject of conditions of a sexual harm prevention order for five years and has been banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.

Kingsthorpe College has been contacted for comment.