June 2008

Paedo teacher jailed for raping 5-year-old

A SICK paedophile primary school TEACHER was given a limitless jail sentence today after he admittted raping a girl from the age of five and taking indecent pictures of pupils.

Neil Challis was told he must serve a minimum of seven years behind bars when he was sentenced at Derby Crown Court as a judge gave him an indeterminate sentence.

The 35-year-old from Chester Green, Derby, was arrested in January after his eight-year-old rape victim, who was not one of his pupils, told her parents.

Police searched his home and found hundreds of indecent images of young girls on his computer, some in the very worst “grade five” category. A number of the images were of his sex attacks.

Challis, who taught at 13 schools across Derbyshire, had used a camera to secretly take pictures up the skirts of some of the pupils he taught, the court heard.

After his arrest, he admitted six charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault of a child.

He also pleaded guilty to charges of taking indecent pictures of a child and the possession of 1,000 indecent images of a child.

Sentencing Challis, Judge Rosalind Bush told him: “The offences that you have committed and for which I am about to sentence you were despicable, particularly in relation to (the young rape victim).

“You made sure that you got yourself into such a position of trust with her family where she was available to you at all times, whenever you wanted sexual gratification.

“There was nowhere in her life where she was safe from you. You were everywhere and abusing her everywhere, in her home, in your home.”

The parents of the young rape victim had been friends of Challis.

They sat in court today as the defendant’s lawyer, Louise Kamill, said her client wanted to offer his “profound apologies”.

Judge Bush added: “You were friends with and were trusted by her family and you manipulated that trust to allow you full access to (her) so you could abuse her.

“There’s no excuse nor explanation for what you did that will ever be acceptable to (her) or her family.”

The court was told that Challis had always worked in situations where there were children or young people.

He worked on summer camps in the United States, from which he brought back the underwear of girls. The garments were later found with the names of their young owners attached.

With no convictions, he passed through the routine checks to work as a supply teacher in schools across Derbyshire during the period of his offences, from August 2004 to January this year.

The judge said: “Whilst you were teaching, children in school were exposed to you. Part of your training as teacher would have been to protect these children against people like you, and the fact that you failed to do so makes your offences even more serious.”

Giving him an indeterminate sentence for the public protection, she added: “I find that there’s a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm caused by you, of committing such offences in the future.”

If or when he is released, Challis will be on licence indefinitely and he is banned from working with children for life.

After the hearing, the family of the rape victim said they were “satisfied” with the sentence.

The young girl’s mother wept as she said: “We have got to go home and tell her. I just hope she can get on with her life now.

“I was very pleased with what the judge said about him.”

The victim’s father said: “He didn’t show any remorse. He’s a despicable creature.”