The deputy head of the primary school witnessed child sexual abuse on the dark web


St. Clair Catholic Primary School in Middlesborough. Authorities have found no evidence to suggest that any of the paintings were made in the school and there are no allegations of physical abuse. (Google Map)

A deputy head teacher at an elementary school admitted to watching videos of child sexual abuse on the dark web.

Richard Swinnerton, 30, spent two years disguising his identity to watch the abuse of minors on the Internet before he was caught.

Swinerton was arrested by National Crime Agency (NCA) officials at his home in May following an investigation.

He confessed to his crimes and later resigned from a job at St. Clair Catholic Primary School in Aklam, Middlesborough.

The pedophile, from Kalbi Newham, appeared in Teesside Magistrate Court on Monday and made three counts of possession of illegal images of children belonging to category A (most serious), category B and category C.

The court heard that when the officers arrested him, they confiscated his laptop containing 87 category A videos of child abuse.

He will be sentenced at Teeside Crown Court at a later date.

The pedophile from Middlesbrough appeared in Teesside Magistrate Court on Monday.  (Google Map)
The pedophile from Middlesbrough appeared in Teesside Magistrate Court on Monday. (Google Map)

Speaking after Swinnerton’s guilty pleas, the NCA said it used software to anonymize itself on the dark web.

Police did not find any evidence to find that any pictures were made at the school and there were no allegations of physical abuse.

NCA operations manager Julie Booker said: “Swinterton had gone long enough for his crimes … and thought he was anonymous on the dark web.

“Criminals who have witnessed child sexual abuse are contributing to ever more children being abused and condemning them to extreme trauma and suffering.

“Every child is re-victimized in an abuse image upon viewing or sharing a picture.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse and preventing pedophiles is a top priority for NCA.”

The deputy headteacher admitted to watching videos of child sexual abuse on the dark web.  (Getty)
The deputy headteacher admitted to watching videos of child sexual abuse on the dark web. (Getty)

Following the hearing, a St. Clair school spokesman said: “It has been a troubling case for parents, carers, staff and the wider St. Clair community.

He said, “We are grateful for the support they have received and we continue to assure them that the well-being and safety of St. Clair’s children remains our priority at all times.”

“It is also important to reiterate that the crimes of this former employee were not in connection with his employment in school.”

Elizabeth Eddies, the headteacher of St. Clair, told Teesside Live in July: “I want to assure all parents that the well-being and safety of children in St. Clair’s remains of paramount importance.

“These fees are not related to their employment in school.”