Southport deputy head admits encouraging child rape

A deputy head teacher on Merseyside has admitted encouraging another man to rape a three-year-old girl.

Patrick Lennon, 59, who taught at Greenbank High School in Southport since the 1970s, pleaded guilty to a string of sexual offences.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Lennon contacted John Hawley, 38, from Halliwell, Bolton, and Philip Skitt, of Orrell Road, Wigan over the internet.

Hawley admitted child rape and Skitt admitted encouraging sexual abuse.

Lennon, who was suspended from his post in September, and Skitt had asked Hawley to commit the rape of the child during their online conversations.

The teacher, of Warwick Avenue, Crosby, pleaded guilty to two offences of encouraging or assisting Hawley to rape a three-year-old girl.

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

Following Lennon's arrest, Merseyside and Greater Manchester police worked together and after trawling through computer hard drives they arrested Hawley and Skitt.

In an interview, police said Hawley told them that he raped and sexually abused a child under 13 on a number of occasions over two years and said on at least one occasion, Skitt and another man were watching on a webcam and encouraging the abuse.

A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: "Images of him raping a child and other extreme pornography were found in his possession."

Hawley admitted three counts of raping a child under 13, three counts of sexual assault by penetration of a child under 13, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and making indecent images of a child.

Skitt, 54, admitted to two counts of encouraging or assisting sexual abuse on the same day as Lennon. He also pleaded guilty to voyeurism and making indecent images of children.

All three will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 3 September.

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