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'Balding pervert' teacher tricked teenagers into explicit webcam chats

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Thomas Ceri Boothe was sentenced to 10 years in prison today
Thomas Ceri Boothe was sentenced to 10 years in prison today

A highly respected secondary school teacher who dressed up as a 15-year-old girl to lure teenage boys into committing sex acts over the internet has been jailed for 10 years.

Thomas Ceri Boothe, 58, was able to lead a double life as a well liked art and drama teacher and paedophile who donned a wig and a shawl to convince teenagers he met on the Chaturbate website that he was the same age as them.

The balding pervert - whose career and good name now lies in tatters - filmed their webcam encounter for his own personal collection of sordid DVDs, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

These included tapes of naked boys he had recorded in sports centre changing rooms, hours of footage of a boy being filmed through a window of a house and a clip of a consenting naked man tied up in the boot of Boothe's car being degraded by him.

The court heard that Boothe also set up a camera in a hotel room and a holiday park to record the repeated abuse of a "highly vulnerable" man in his 20s he met while running a club for disabled people.

The art and drama teacher had spent his whole 34-year career at Newent School in Newent, near Gloucester and was well liked by pupils, parents and staff, and had been praised as "outstanding" by education watchdog Ofsted.

Boothe's double life was exposed in February last year when the Canadian authorities alerted their counterparts in the UK when he bought over the internet some illegal DVDs from Toronto.

Police raided his home and uncovered his hidden activities.

Prosecutor Simon Burns said none of the offences involved pupils from the school and told the court: "The defendant is of previous good character and appears to have led a double life.

"Being a teacher has been a useful cover for effectively winning the trust of individuals, in particular the young man he abused and his family. The other side of his personality reveals an interest in sordid perversions.

"The Crown would say this is an enormous abuse of trust in this case. There is a significant degree of planning. He planned it, he executed it and he stored it to watch it back again".

Mr Burns said the disabled victim has an IQ of only 44 and the mental age of an 11-year-old and was "extremely vulnerable person".

"His mother says he is always eager to please and would say yes to anything if he thought he was going to give the right answer," Mr Burns said.

"She was tricked into thinking Mr Boothe was someone they could trust and had trusted over a number of years. He has an extreme learning disability and that would be apparent to the defendant right from the beginning."

Boothe, of Montgomery close, Hucclecote, Gloucester had earlier pleaded guilty to 20 sex offences, including four charges of indecently assaulting the disabled man and four offences of having sexual activity with the same man knowing he had a mental disorder making him unable to refuse.

He also admitted two offences of outraging public decency and seven charges of taking photos of boys aged 10 to 13 in public changing rooms. Boothe also admitted three offences of possessing indecent movies of children.

Steve Young, defending, said Boothe had never come out as gay and hid his personal life from friends and colleagues.

"It is a classic case of living two separate lives. He has lost his job, his career and his good name and his going to lose his liberty," he said.

"He bitterly regrets the way in which the school has been brought into it.

"These offences were as a result of him hiding his sexuality. He has never had a firm relationship with either a man or a woman and he has lived a very hidden private life."

Mr Young added: "His career as a teacher is well and truly over."

Judge Jamie Tabor QC jailed Boothe for a total of 10 years and told him that he had undermined the teaching profession.

"It is clear from all I have read and heard that you were highly respected teacher for many years and you were considered by Ofsted to be an outstanding teacher," the judge said.

"In short, I have do doubt that you shone an educational light for many of your pupils. You were thought of highly by many pupils, parents and colleagues at the school where you taught for 34 years.

"As far as the school is concerned you have abused that trust.

"There was a dark side to your life. You have very paedophilic tendencies which have been evident for many years. Your libido was such that it led you to take many risks in order to satisfy it."

Referring to the Chatturbate website, the judge added: "It is a poor reflection on the sexual morals of our time that these websites appear to flourish."

Boothe was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life and made subject of a sexual offences prevention order indefinitely.