Former Teacher's Conviction In Birmingham Could Help Protect Children Abroad

26 February 2015, 18:43

A campaign group and the NCA say they'll go after more sex offenders abroad following a conviction at Birmingham Crown Court.

Simon Harris, 55, of Pudlestone, Herefordshire, was given a 17 year four month sentence at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (26 February).

A jury found him guilty of eight charges of indecent and sexual assault on boys in Gilgil, Kenya and four of possessing indecent images of children.

Kelvin Lay from the National Crime Agency has told Capital it was a complicated case but there could be more in future...

Hannah Flint works for The International Justice Mission she says there are lots of British people committing offences like Mr Harris did...

At the beginning of his eight-week trial in October 2014 Harris admitted six offences of abusing children at Shebbear College in the late 1980s.

Concerns about Harris were first raised with UK law enforcement in March 2013 and detectives from West Mercia Police worked with officers from the National Crime Agency who together travelled to Gilgil, Kenya to gather evidence and interview victims.

Harris set up a gap-year charity in Kenya where he sexually assaulted abandoned and vulnerable children.  

Birmingham Crown Court heard he would groom and lure boys to his house in Kenya by offering them food, shelter, clothing and money.

It was the first prosecution of a British citizen in England, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, for sex offences committed against children in Africa. The boys gave evidence via satellite video link from Kenya, directly into Birmingham Crown Court.

Harris, who sat in the dock during sentencing 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.''

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