Former assistant headteacher at Kettlethorpe High School facing jail after admitting indecent child image offences

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A former assistant headteacher at Wakefileld high school is facing jail after pleading guilty to accessing thousands of indecent child images.

Gareth Mellor, 43, was a senior staff member at Kettlethorpe High School at the time of the offending, which took place over seven years.

None of the offences relate to any children at the council-maintained school.

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The school’s headteacher said he was “appalled” at the way Mellor had “betrayed the trust placed in him during his time at the school.”

Gareth Mellor was tracked down by NCA investigators after making a Bitcoin payment for indecent images of children via an encrypted cloud storage service.Gareth Mellor was tracked down by NCA investigators after making a Bitcoin payment for indecent images of children via an encrypted cloud storage service.
Gareth Mellor was tracked down by NCA investigators after making a Bitcoin payment for indecent images of children via an encrypted cloud storage service.

Mellor was arrested following an investigation led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The 43-year old appeared before Leeds Crown Court today (November 8) where he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent child images, between January 2014 and May 2021.

One count involves 520 category A images – the most serious level of offending.

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Mellor also admitted making 690 category B and 10,450 category C images.

Gareth Mellor was a senior staff member at Kettlethorpe High School at the time of the offending, which took place over seven years.Gareth Mellor was a senior staff member at Kettlethorpe High School at the time of the offending, which took place over seven years.
Gareth Mellor was a senior staff member at Kettlethorpe High School at the time of the offending, which took place over seven years.

He pleaded not guilty to two further counts of possessing extreme pornographic images involving animals and possessing prohibited photographs of children.

Prosecutor Heather Gilmore said the pleas were acceptable to the Crown.

Mellor, who has no previous convictions, was released on bail until his sentencing hearing on December 7.

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His bail conditions forbid him from having contact with children.

Mellor, of Pennycroft Road, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, must also inform the NCA of any use of internet-enabled devices.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl KC, told Mellor that all sentencing options are open to the court, including a prison sentence.

He must also register as a sex offender.

Tudor Griffiths, headteacher at Kettlethorpe High School, said: “Although the crimes committed by Gareth Mellor have absolutely no connection to our school community, we are appalled at the way he has betrayed the trust placed in him during his time at the school.

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“The safeguarding checks and procedures we, and all schools follow, did not identify any concerns. His ability to hide in a position of responsibility is shocking and upsetting.

“We take some comfort in the fact that the NCA investigation found that Mellor’s crimes had no association with any pupils, past or present.

“However, his crimes have affected the lives of other children and young people and our thoughts are with them.”

Vicky Schofield, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for children and young people, said: “As soon as were made aware of the allegations, Gareth Mellor was immediately suspended and dismissed shortly after.

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“The National Crime Agency investigation was clear that these crimes do not relate to any students past or present at Kettlethorpe High School.

“But they do involve other children and young people and we are grateful to the NCA for bringing Mellor to justice.”

Danielle Pownall, NCA operations manager, said: “Gareth Mellor worked with children nearly every day and was entrusted to protect them.

“This investigation showed that he deeply betrayed this trust through amassing a huge collection of material showing the horrific abuse of children.

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“Despite his attempts to conceal his activities by using cryptocurrency and encrypted storage services, this investigation was able to identify him as a committed buyer and consumer of child abuse material.

“The NCA is committed to tackling this criminality in all its forms, breaking the chain of supply and demand and protecting children from the most harmful offenders.”