South West Wales

Swansea abuse images teacher Simon Williams struck off

A teacher who had child abuse images on his computer has been permanently struck off the teaching register.

Simon Goodwin Williams resigned from his job at Gendros Primary School in Swansea in 2011 while awaiting trial for downloading indecent images.

He was cleared by a jury but a tribunal panel in Cardiff ruled that "on the balance of probabilities" Williams had deliberately viewed the images.

He was given an indefinite teaching ban.

During his trial at Swansea Crown Court Williams accepted that 295 illegal images were found on his computer, but said they could have been caused by malicious "pop-ups" or viruses.

Case presenter Louise Bryl told a General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) hearing that the evidence against Mr Williams was "overwhelming".

She said he gave conflicting evidence about how many times indecent images had appeared on his screen, and the sheer volume of child abuse material suggested he knowingly accessed the sites.

"He accessed 57 illegal sites while browsing the internet in one day. If he was a victim of illegal pop-ups why did he keep going back to the same sites?" she said.

"And perhaps the most convincing evidence is the internet searches showing sophisticated search terms [used by people looking for abuse images]."

Mr Williams was arrested in January 2011. He was later suspended and the school decided to proceed with disciplinary proceedings against him.

Mr Williams did not attend the hearing in Cardiff but his representative Gareth Lloyd said the IT teacher maintained his innocence.

'Two trials'

"I deny that I knowingly or willingly downloaded these images," a statement read out on his behalf said.

"I have been subjected to two trials. The first resulted in a mis-trial. The second I was cleared of all charges."

Mr Williams also questioned the GTCW's decision to go ahead with the hearing when a "higher court" had cleared him of wrongdoing.

The panel found four out of five allegations - which all related to downloading indecent images of children in 2010 and 2011 - proven.

A further allegation that Mr Williams failed to report the indecent images to police was not proven.

Panel chairwoman Jacquie Turnbull said: "Although Mr Williams said he had accessed these images inadvertently, we do not accept that.

"He will be permanently prevented from ever teaching again."

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