Jail sentence of York teacher Richard Oldham is more than doubled

York Press: Richard Oldham Richard Oldham

A YORK primary school teacher who molested his pupils and filmed children as they changed for swimming lessons has seen his six-month jail sentence more than doubled.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that Richard Oldham, who was jailed for just six months by a judge at Leeds Crown Court in September, should instead serve a 13-month sentence.

The Solicitor General, Oliver Heald, who had asked the Court of Appeal to look again at the case, said afterwards: "Richard Oldham abused his position of trust and acted in a way that was wholly inappropriate for a teacher, committing sexual offences against young boys who were in his charge and entitled to be safe.

"I asked the court to look again at his overall sentence and consider whether sentences for some of the offences should have been ordered to run consecutively.

"Sexual crimes, especially those which breach the trust between a pupil and teacher, should be punished appropriately.

"Today the Court sent a clear message that anyone who violates the trust of children they have been charged to look after will face the proper consequences."

Detective Sergeant Adam Normanton, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “I am pleased that the court of appeal has taken the decision to increase Richard Oldham’s sentence to more accurately reflect the gravity of his offences.

“Oldham completely disregarded the position of trust he held as a teacher and deserved to be punished appropriately.

“His victims showed great courage to come forward and report what happened to them and I hope that the extension of Oldham’s sentence will give them a sense that justice has been done.”

Oldham, formerly of Murton Garth, Murton. but more recently of Holsworthy, Devon, was charged with 23 offences including voyeurism, making and possessing indecent photographs of children and sexual assault.

His offending spanned eight years and was uncovered in September last year after a 10-year-old boy complained that the teacher touched him during a lesson. The touching was inappropriate but was over his clothes and did not involve his genitals.

Another 10-year-old boy, at a different school, came forward after seeing media coverage to say he had been touched by Oldham between September 2010 and July last year.

After Oldham was arrested, police found computer equipment at his home which contained more than 2,000 indecent images of children. Although most were at the lower levels, some of the images were level four, described as "the rape of children".

The filming at the swimming lessons concentrated on the children's genitals and Oldham would also talk to the children about erections and pornography.

The number of sentences flagged to the Attorney General's Office for being too lenient surged to a record high last year. Out of the 435 sentences sent to the Attorney General, a total of 62 offenders saw an increase in their sentence as a result.

A charity for child abuse victims was outraged in September when Oldham was given six months, which meant he was not, under current legislation, subject to supervision by the probation service on his release from jail.

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said then that six months seemed a "catastrophically lenient sentence for such vile crimes", while the NSPCC said entences should always reflect the severity of the crime and breach of trust that had occurred.

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