Published: 16:50, 27 June 2017
A head teacher who was in charge of child protection at his school has been jailed after he downloaded hundreds of thousands images of youngsters being abused.
Richard Williams stored more than 160,000 of the sordid images on his computers and other devices before ensuring he was caught as a “cry for help”.
The married 48-year-old former head of St Mary’s C of E Primary School in Chilham downloaded the pictures and videos over a three-year period.
His lawyer submitted that because he had taken great steps towards rehabilitation he could escape being sent to prison.
But before jailing Williams for 12 months, Judge Adele Williams said: “The problem is the public will rightly feel revulsion that a man charged with the care and education of children should engage in this activity.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard police raided his home in Alexander Drive, Faversham, on November 8 last year after receiving “intelligence” that images had been downloaded there.
Williams admitted to officers he had accessed the images while head of the school.
Computer equipment was seized and the material from the “dark web” was discovered.
He declined legal representation and described how he had become addicted to adult pornography for most of his adult life, but in the last three years had turned to indecent images of children and extreme porn.
Williams claimed he was more interested in saving them than viewing them.
“He found them sexually attractive because he liked girls’ forms of all ages,” said prosecutor Donna East.
“He was interested in girls aged nine and above.
“He had acted already with his addiction. He didn’t want to feel this way towards children, given his occupation.”
He admitted six offences of possessing indecent images including 293 in the highest category, 737 in the next highest and 159,446 in the lowest.
A probation officer said Williams had the support of his wife. They had no children. “My concern is rehabilitation is the key here,” he added.
Williams, who has since moved to Midhurst in West Sussex, had received help from the Lucy Faithfull child protection charity and was helping them with their research.
Judge Williams told him: “Possession of child pornography is a great mischief in our society.
"They are, of course, real children here being subjected to real sexual abuse in these images.
“The public rightly feels revulsion that these images should exist, let alone be viewed.
“You were the headmaster of Chilham Primary School and had responsibility for child protection issues when you engaged in viewing this material.”
The judge said Williams’ letter to her set out the revulsion he himself felt about his behaviour and his remorse.
"Each one of these images represents a crime scene and a visual record of an assault on a child and it is right that Williams has been brought to justice for his actions" - NSPCC spokesman
“I am impressed with the steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself, but these offences are simply too serious to be dealt with in any other way than an immediate sentence of imprisonment,” added Judge Williams.
Williams’ name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
A sexual harm prevention order was made for the same period and he will be barred form working with children and vulnerable adults.
An NSPCC spokesman said: "As a headteacher, Williams had a clear child safeguarding role. But despite this he has helped to fuel the growing problem of child abuse images being distributed online.
"Each one of these images represents a crime scene and a visual record of an assault on a child and it is right that Williams has been brought to justice for his actions.
"To help deal with the escalating demand for this material, the NSPCC is calling for technology companies, government and law enforcement to commit resources and expertise to prevent this sickening material being published in the first place.
Anyone concerned about a child can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk.
More by this authorKeith Hunt