A disgraced primary school deputy headteacher has admitted watching videos of child abuse on the dark web for two years.
Richard Swinnerton, 30, told National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators he watched the videos which included footage of adults raping children, Teeside Live reports.
Swinnerton, from Middlesbrough, appeared at the Teeside Magistrates’ Court where he admitted three counts of possession of illegal images of children relation to category A (the most severe), B and C.
NCA officers who seized the headteacher’s laptops at his home in May said it contained 87 Category A videos of child abuse.
Speaking after his guilty pleas, the NCA said the paedophile used software to ensure he remained anonymous on the dark web.
No evidence was found to suggest any of the footage was captured at the school, and there are no allegations of physical abuse.
Swinnerton, who resigned from his job at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School, will be sentenced at Teeside Crown Court at a later date.
NCA operation manager Julie Booker said: “Swinnerton had gone to considerable lengths using TOR to commit his offences and thought he was anonymous on the dark web.
“Offender who view child abuse are contributing to ever more children being abused and condemning them to years of extreme trauma and suffering.
“Every child in an abuse image is re-victimised when the photograph is view or shared.
“Protecting children from sexual abuse and stopping paedophile is a top priority for the NCA.”
At the end of the hearing, a St Clare’s school spokesperson said: “This has been an upsetting matter for parents, carers, staff and the wider St Clare’s community.”
Elizabeth Eddies, St Clare’s headteacher, told Teeside Live in July: “I wish to assure all parents that the well-being and safety of children at St Clare’s remains of paramount importance.
“These charges do not relate to his employment at the school. This is deeply upsetting news for everybody involved with St Clare’s, which has served the local community and families for over 50 years.”