England

Southport teacher jailed for encouraging child rape

Patrick Lennon
Image caption Patrick Lennon described the rape of the three-year-old as 'awesome'

A deputy head teacher who encouraged another man to rape a three-year-old girl has been jailed for seven years.

Patrick Lennon, 59, told John Hawley, 38, to sexually abuse the child while he and a third man, Phillip Skitt, 54, watched on a webcam.

Lennon, of Warwick Avenue, Crosby, Merseyside, pleaded guilty to a string of sexual offences at Liverpool Crown Court.

He is suspended from his job at all-girl Greenbank High School, Southport.

The court heard that Lennon, a father-of-two, contacted Hawley, 38, from Halliwell, Bolton, and Skitt, of Orrell Road, Wigan, over the internet.

Among the offences he admitted were two counts of encouraging or assisting Hawley to commit the attack on the girl in November 2008.

'Help me play'

He also admitted six counts of possessing extreme pornography and 15 counts of making indecent images of children.

Hawley admitted child rape and was jailed for an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) to serve a minimum of eight years.

Skitt admitted encouraging sexual abuse and received a prison term of eight years with three years on licence following his release.

A transcript of the trio's conversation during the abuse was read to Liverpool Crown Court, which is too disturbing to report in detail.

But in it Hawley said it was a "pity" the others were not there "to help me play".

Image caption Hawley raped the child while Skitt and Lennon watched

At the end of the abuse the disgraced teacher described the attack as "awesome".

Forensics experts found more than 500 indecent images on his computer.

During interviews in March this year, he admitted pretending to be a 14-year-old girl, Paula Jones, when online, and using the webname "Stargazer" in his chats with Hawley and Skitt, who knew his real identity.

Police were alerted to the paedophile by investigators in Canada.

In December 2006 the authorities arrested a man who had traded images of child sex abuse with Lennon.

They tracked an email account, paulajones14@yahoo.co.uk, to him.

Merseyside Police detectives raided the teacher's home in Warwick Avenue, in September last year and he was arrested.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison but will be on licence for three years when he is released.

A trawl of his computer revealed his horrific encounters with Skitt and Hawley, who he had known for a number of years.

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