Headteacher admits child porn charges

Disgraced: Peter Croft
Disgraced: Peter Croft
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The reputation of a headteacher from Chorley lays in tatters after he admitted downloading and distributing hundreds of sick pornographic images of children.

Disgraced Peter Croft, 43, has been warned he faces prison after he pleaded guilty to hoarding more than 500 child porn images and videos on his computer, some of which were the highest severity – level five.

The 43-year-old was the head of The Willows RC Primary School in Kirkham.

He was arrested last September at his home in Chorley and bowed his head as 21 charges of making and distributing the images were read out to him at Preston’s Sessions House Crown Court on Monday.

He spoke only to plead guilty on each charge.

Judge Simon Newell released the former teacher, who was suspended by the school last year after 11 years at the helm, on conditional bail pending a pre-sentence report.

He is due to be sentenced on March 17.

The judge warned Croft: “Due to the number and nature of these offences an immediate custodial sentence is likely.”

Outside court Croft refused to comment, bowing his head in silence as he was led away by his legal team and members of his family.

In total, the former teacher admitting making 519 pornographic images of children, which included pictures of pre-pubescent boys.

Six pictures and one video were classed as level five, which is the highest level of severity on the Copine Scale which gauges the seriousness of child pornography.

The category refers to images featuring bestiality or sadism.

In addition to 15 counts of making indecent images of children, Croft pleaded guilty to seven more serious counts of distributing more than 100 indecent images and videos. They ranged from level one to level four on the Copine Scale.

Chair of governors at The Willows Primary School, Gerrie Byrne would not comment about the case directly.

She said: “Governors would like to thank staff, pupils and parents for their support over the last few difficult months.

“We are already in the process of recruiting a new head teacher and are looking forward to a new era for the school.”

Deputy headteacher Pam Harley was appointed acting headteacher last October.

Croft’s seedy double life first come to the fore in September when his home in Yew Tree Close, Chorley, was raided by police after his internet activity was flagged up by an international child porn investigation with roots in America.

He was originally charged with three offences but 18 extra charges were added later.

None of the images are believed to involve children from the school.