April 2023

‘No hiding place’ for West Berkshire headteacher convicted for paedophile fantasies and photos

A career at the pinnacle of West Berkshire education has ended in ignominy with the sentencing of a former headteacher.

In February, Gerard ‘Gerry’ Heaton was exposed as a secret paedophile, hoarding the most extreme child sex images.

However, it can now be revealed that the 57-year-old, now said to be living at Bradley Court in Hungerford, was also publishing vile child sexual abuse/paedophiole fantasies on the internet – a fact he was keen to keep from his trial in open court.

At a preliminary court hearing, Heaton – who was then living at Bradley Close in Kintbury – admitted possessing hundreds of indecent images of children.

Specifically, he was caught with 124 images classified as Category C; 131 in Category B and 66 in Category A.

All the offences were committed in Kintbury between January 21, 2012 and September 9, 2021.

But he entered no guilty pleas to publish obscene articles.

He was accused of publishing five books, titled Band Boy, Band Boy Blues, Band Boy Banned, Band Boy Blazes and Band Boy Bliss, on an adult website between May 14, 2021 and April 1 last year while living in Kintbury.

At a preliminary hearing, Heaton’s counsel said he hoped that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) might drop the obscene publication charge, in light of Heaton’s guilty plea to possessing the child sex images.

He added that his client was “keen to avoid a trial” – which would have exposed lurid details of the offending – and was meanwhile using the time to try to rehabilitate himself by enrolling on courses for child sex offenders.

However, the CPS did not oblige and, at a recent sentencing hearing, Heaton also admitted the offence of publishing an obscene article.

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Heaton was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years, and was ordered to engage in a rehabilitation programme.

He was headteacher at Hungerford Primary School from January 2014 until taking early retirement in August 2017.

Previously, he was headteacher at Inkpen Primary School for more than eight years, from April 2008.

And before that, from January 2001, Mr Heaton had been deputy headteacher and acting headteacher at Lambourn Primary School.

He was serving as a specialist teacher at Theale Primary School in the months before his arrest and had served as school governor at Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School.

Mr Heaton, a former pupil at John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford, was considered an inspirational educator to generations of youngsters.

Heaton is no longer an adviser to the TTST, which aims to help young people who experience social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties.

All the above primary schools are state maintained, apart from Lambourn Primary School, which is managed by the Excalibur Academies Trust.