Former deputy headmaster pleads guilty to having indecent images of boys


The former deputy headmaster of a Catholic primary school has pleaded guilty to receiving and saving 697 indecent images of young boys.

Anthony Hassall, 35, was deputy head at St Joseph's primary school in Winsford, when he was receiving and saving the images at his home on 2 computers.

Chester Crown Court heard that Hassall, of Nelson Street, Crewe, went on chat sites, pretending to be a younger man interested in sex with boys under 10.

The court heard that Cheshire Police received intelligence from another Law Enforcement Agency that had detected Hassall engaging in conversations on Skype about sex with young boys.

Officers from the Paedophile Cyber Investigation team visited the school and arrested Hassall, who was teaching at the time.

Hassall's home was also searched and items were sent to the Police High Tech Crime Unit.

Hassall was silent in interview following his arrest, but later made a full confession to engaging in paedophile discussions and receiving images of young children.

He was given a community order for 3 years, ordered to take part in a sex offenders programme and his address and activities will be monitored by the police for next five years.

A sexual harm prevention order was also issued which restricts his use of the internet. He is also automatically barred from working with children.

His computers were also seized and destroyed.

Mike Stephenson, District Crown prosecutor for Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Anthony Hassall had a responsible job as a deputy headmaster in a primary school and held a position of trust.

"However, in his spare time he was posing as a much younger man and engaging in conversations about sex with young boys and receiving and saving indecent images.

"The internet appears to provide the screen of anonymity for such activities, but law enforcement scrutinise it intensely and when criminal activity of this sort is uncovered,  the trail back to the offenders provides compelling evidence."