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King Henry VIII Teacher Awaits Sentence

A top teacher in Coventry is awaiting sentence for taking and possessing photographs of naked boys.

John Skermer, a former senior teacher at King Henry VIII School, admitted taking secret snaps of naked boys. He processed the illicit films at the school where he also received a French magazine devoted to child pornography.

Skermer, 51, of Allesley Old Road, Coventry, pleaded guilty at Coventry Magistrates Court to four charges of taking indecent photographs of a child between 1 January 1980 and 12 April 1999.

He also pleaded guilty to five charges of possessing indecent photographs of a child during the same period.

Gail Fellows, prosecuting, said Skermer took some of his photographs of young boys in a bath following a rugby match. He also took pictures of three boys from his school in thongs, two boys fishing naked and a naked boy on a beach.

Steve Millerchip defending told the magistrates:

"None of the photographs recovered from his house shows any sexual activity. None was considered obscene. There has never been any suggestion that Skermer ever touched or propositioned a child."

Millerchip said Skermer, a teacher at King Henry VIII for 25 years, had received around fifty letters of support from former pupils and colleagues.

At the end of the hearing the magistrates bailed Skermer. He will be sentenced at Coventry Crown Court on 16 July.

The police later revealed how suspicion had fallen on the schoolteacher.

A parcel addressed to Skermer was intercepted by Customs and Excise staff and found to contain pornographic material. His house was searched and he was arrested.

In a separate and unconnected case Terence Vardon, the former headmaster at King Henry VIII was fined 4,000 and ordered to be registered as a sex offender when he pleaded guilty to possessing indecent photographs of a child at Mid Warwickshire Magistrates Court recently. Formerly of Leamington Spa, he is reportedly now living in Germany.

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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / 23 Jun 99

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