Paedophile Northants teacher asked judge to lift restrictions so he can progress his career

He appeared via video link to ask a Northampton judge to reconsider his Sexual Harm Prevention Order

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 6:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 8:20 am
Spector appeared before Northampton Crown Court

A paedophile teacher has appeared in court to ask a judge to consider lifting restrictions imposed to protect the public after telling the court they could harm his chances of career progression.

Teacher Paul Spector appeared via video-link from Germany to ask a judge in Northampton to lift the ten-year sexual harm prevention (SHPO) order imposed by the same court in 2016.

The court heard that the SHPO meant that Spector had to tell employers of his past when applying for new jobs, and that it couldn't be monitored in Germany, where he moved three years ago.

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Paul Spector in 2014

Spector, who is now 55, had worked as a supply teacher in North Northamptonshire. He was arrested in 2014 after a complaint was made against him. When police analysed his laptop, they found he had downloaded 76 indecent images of children, including 37 of the most serious category A, 31 category B and eight category C.

On the day his trial was due to start in March 2016, he pleaded guilty to those offences, as well one count of sexual touching of a girl under 13, and second of common assault of a girl under 13.

Spector, of Holbeach, Spalding, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also given a two-year supervision programme and a 10-year SHPO order.

The order banned Spector from; having contact with children without supervision of someone who knows the extent of his convictions; of living in the same house as a child without the permission of social services and from deleting his internet history. He was also compelled to allow police officers to examine any of his devices.

SHPOs are separate from, and provide extra powers to, the requirements of being on the sex offenders' register (SOR) - which all those cautioned for or convicted of any sexual offence are required to join. Under the requirements of the SOR, offenders are required to regularly attend a police station to provide address details and to notify officers of all foreign travel, of bank account details and if they are staying with a person who is under the age of 18.

In 2017, immediately as his required supervision by probation officers came to an end, Spector moved to Germany after meeting and marrying a woman who did not have the legal right to live in the UK.

On Thursday (October 14) Spector exercised his right to apply for the discharge of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order as it has been five years since it was made.

For the crown, barrister Caroline Bray said: "Since the end of 2017, Mr Spector has been resident in Germany. At no point since then has there been an opportunity for probation to assess him.

"If, at any time, he should return to the UK, we do not know what risk he poses to children. If we don't have the SHPO order, there will be no opportunity to monitor him except for under the notification requirements of the sex offender registration (SOR) scheme, which provides much less monitoring."

Spector, who represented himself in court via videolink from his home in Germany, said: "Things have changed significantly and my behaviour and situation in the intervening period are different."

He said that, were he to return to the UK, under the requirements of the sex offenders registration scheme, he could still be monitored by officers who would come to his house and ask him about his behaviour.

"If in the future, I were to return to the UK, the lifting of the SHPO would mean my sentence would become spent and I would not have to provide any future employers with the details of my conviction. But I do not have any plans to return," he said.

"I can't undertake employment other than the kind of employment I've got at the moment which is customer service jobs.

"I can't ever take any job that would involved any contact with children or younger people because it would come up on my DBS check, but for other jobs in customer service work, if my conviction were spent it would not."

Ms Bray explained that the SOR scheme compels those on the register to tell police where they live and when they are going abroad.

But the SHPO bans Spector from contact with children, allows the police to 'full and unfettered access' to his electronic devices and a breach is punishable by a custodial sentence.

She added: "We simply do not have enough information following the successful completion of his probation order to know whether it's worked. To discharge the order would be premature and could open up children in the UK to unnecessary risk."

Giving evidence in court, Detective Sergeant Oliver McNally said: "Should he return to the UK and the SHPO be discharged, we would have no way of conducting an assessment."

Spector argued that the difference between the requirements of the SHPO and the SOR registration scheme were only that police would have the right to look at his electronic devices. But DS McNally said that the order also bans him from contact with children.

Denying the application for the discharge of the order Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking said: "Mr Spector is not right when he says the SHPO adds nothing to the effect of the SOR. I am entirely satisfied that the police are correct in that regard. The terms of the SHPO do prohibit behaviours that are not prohibited by the SOR requirements.

"The SOR allows direct contact with children under 16.

"They are active, ongoing safeguards for the public protection.

"For three-and-a-half years there have been no risk assessments of the type that would be carried out by sexual offence officers.

"Risk is never static. It's inherent that such an interest in children can remain dormant and apparently hidden for many years. Experienced officers who have experience of interrogating devices can look for tell-tale signs of ongoing sexual interest in children.

"These things can't be done as a result of the SOR requirement. So what do the officers do if they have had insufficient information for 3.5 years because they haven't been able to carry out these assessments?

"They would be negligent to conclude that someone no longer presents a risk."