Predatory teacher gets 17-year term

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Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A former public school teacher described as a prolific and calculating sexual predator has been jailed for 17 years and four months after abusing vulnerable young Kenyan street children.

Charity boss Simon Harris lured boys using food, money and the promise of schooling to his luxury home in the East African country where the abuse took place between 2002 and May 2013.

Harris, 55, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was convicted after trial last year of three indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, with one victim thought to be as young as nine.

He was also found guilty of four charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Harris, who sat in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court wearing a suit and tie, never once looked up as the sentences were read out to him by Judge Philip Parker QC.

Addressing the former classics teacher directly, Judge Parker told Harris he was obviously “intelligent” and “charismatic”, which had given him “a veneer of respectability”, but that he had used this to conceal a “self-centred arrogance”.

“You designed your life to be close to boys – it suited you to be in education,” he said.

“It gave you kudos and it also provided a source of boys.”

The judge added: “It is abundantly clear you have an unlawful sexual interest in young boys.”

Harris, who before trial last year also admitted six counts of indecently assaulting three boys at a college in Devon where he had been a housemaster in the 1980s, had left those victims “haunted”, and “revolted”.

Judge Parker said Harris, who later moved to Kenya, had continued his sexual offending against boys, and this time against street children whom he said “were amongst the most vulnerable in the world”.

“You assumed a hallowed position among the locals,” said the judge.

“You were revered as someone who could provide the gift of education.

“You were answerable to no-one – and once again you had access to boys.”

The judge added that Harris’s charity work in education meant “no-one batted an eyelid” when he washed boys, and allowed youngsters to sleep in his bedroom at the remote home he owned on the outskirts of the town of Gilgil.

“You walked on water. But none of them knew you had a sexual motive.”

It emerged during his trial that Harris had been banned from travelling abroad after a 2009 conviction for possession of indecent images of children, for which he served 15 months in a British jail.

However, it was also revealed that he went to court and had the ban, lifted leaving him free to travel back forth to Kenya, where he abused more boys, until he was eventually arrested back in the UK in June 2013 by West Mercia Police.

Judge Parker told Harris: “You were determined to avoid the English ban and get back to Kenya to live your own life exactly as before.”

He added: “It had been urged upon me that I should give you credit for all the charitable work you introduced to Kenya, but I am afraid, when your so-called charity work is the vehicle for abuse, I cannot buy into this concept.”

Telling Harris he was “a significant risk” to young boys, the judge said it was clear that his Kenyan victims had been left “used, degraded, and humiliated”.

“The mental scars will almost certainly never heal,” added Judge Parker.

Published: Thursday 26th February 2015 by The News Editor

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