Ex-head jailed for child porn shame

Terry Ladlow, of Hunmanby, Scarborough, produced the new Scarborough dvd. Picture by Neil Silk. 091239a   18/03/2009
Terry Ladlow, of Hunmanby, Scarborough, produced the new Scarborough dvd. Picture by Neil Silk. 091239a 18/03/2009

A FORMER headteacher has been jailed for six months for producing and possessing almost 9,000 indecent images of children.

Terry Ladlow, 73, of Hunmanby, claimed to have downloaded the images from the internet in order to “pray” for the youngsters depicted.

However, Recorder Guy Kearl QC, sitting at York Crown Court, told Ladlow that his “distorted reasoning” had the possible opposite effect because his downloading and viewing the material was perpetuating he victimisation of the youngsters.

Ladlow, a teacher for 33 years and the organist at St Oswald’s Church in Filey, appeared for sentencing, having previously admitted 23 charges of making indecent images of children and one of possessing the material – all the offences taking place over five years between May 2005 and March last year.

When interviewed, Ladlow, who started as a primary schoolteacher at the age of 22, working in Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Portsmouth and Hull, told police he had an interest in gay pornography, but had started accessing other websites.

Mr Sharpe said Ladlow’s “peculiar” explanation for keeping the images was that he wanted to look at them so that he could “review them at leisure and pray for the victims to be saved and not be abused any more”.

However, Ladlow added that he only prayed for the boys, not the girls in the images, because he did not think that they would be “able to cope spiritually with the help he thought he could provide by praying for them”.

Mr Sharpe told the court that the police investigation had been hampered by Ladlow’s not co-operating with the search of his home and then delaying proceedings by claiming he had church business to attend to. Police were also of the opinion that at times he also feigned illnesses in order to hold up the investigation, he added.

Taryn Turner, mitigating, said Ladlow had struggled for many years with his sexuality. She added that there were never any allegations involving his treatment of children made against him throughout his long career and also while he did much good work for many years for his church.

Adding: “He is a man of very great religious convictions,” Mrs Turner said that Ladlow stood by the explanation for his actions he gave to the police, being “very strongly of the view that it was necessary” for him to pray for the children in the images.

Mrs Turner asked that Ladlow, who she said had a “glowing character” until these offences, should not receive a custodial sentence, but be offered help in the community where he was highly thought of. She said that her client was frail and anxious and that custody for him would not be pleasurable because he would have to spend his time in segregation.

Jailing Ladlow, the recorder said that the defendant’s reasoning for the offences was, at best, “distorted reasoning” and a “denial of a more obvious motivation”.

He said that the viewing the illegal material had become a compulsion and that, being an intelligent man, Ladlow must have realised he was doing was adding the victimisation of children.

Ladlow was also placed under an indefinite Sexual Offences Protection Order, restricting his future use of the internet.

As he was sentenced, Ladlow had to be assisted to his feet and down the dock steps to the cells. Ladlow, who moved to Hunmanby from Wetwang in 2004, is also well-known for film-making work.

He created 10 educational documentaries which he sold to schools and the British Council. He is known for his Yorkshire Heritage videos and projects included writing scores for silent movies and restoring old Scarborough films.