July 2023

Science teacher sexually abused teenage girl

A science and technology teacher caught with thousands of child abuse images was also found to have sexually assaulted one of his pupils 

The National Crime Agency launched an investigation in November 2021, when Google sent a report of a user possessing child abuse material on their platform via the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US.

After NCA investigators identified the user as Mark Langford, 55, they immediately moved in to arrest him at his then address in Beccles, Suffolk.

Further enquiries established that he had groomed and sexually abused a 15-year-old pupil he taught at a school in Lowestoft between 2004 and 2006.

NCA officers recovered a letter Langford – now of Ingleton, North Yorkshire – wrote to the victim in April last year, instructing her on what to say if the NCA questioned her regarding his offending.

He said: “Before you talk to him, please remember that it is his job to convict me – please do not give him any accidental ammunition against me. You can tell him you know I’m a porn addict, and that I was arrested for having indecent images of children. Don’t forget the “arrested for” bit – don’t say I did it, or that I confessed to you, because that might drag you into court as a witness. I don’t know if it will, but that’s not a question I dare ask him.”

Before being arrested Langford told officers: “It’s all in there, I know what you’re looking for, I’ve made a mistake and ruined everything”.

Five of his devices were forensically examined and found to contain a total of 2,718 indecent images of children in categories A-C (A being the most severe).

A further 199 prohibited images and 109 extreme images were also found.

Langford had exchanged images on various peer to peer sites and accessed a cloud-based storage platform used by paedophiles to trade child sexual abuse material.

Officers also recovered a number of online chat logs in which he spoke with other like-minded individuals about sexual abuse.

These included conversations about child rape, encouraging others to sexually abuse their children and the levels of pain and humiliation that needed to be inflicted on women and children to satisfy his sexual demands.

He also gave tips to others on where to find child sexual abuse material online.

Langford taught at Suffolk and Norfolk secondary schools from 1996 until just after his arrest, at which point he was employed by a free schools trust which runs schools in Beccles, Bury St Edmunds and Saxmundham.

He appeared at Ipswich Crown Court (10 July) where he pleaded guilty to a number of charges including indecent assault, indecency with a child, perverting the cause of justice, indecent images of children offences (making, possession and distribution) and possession of extreme pornographic images.

Langford was remanded into custody and will be sentenced at the same court on 25 September.

NCA Operations Manager Holly Triggs said: “Mark Langford grossly abused his position of trust. In short, his offending was despicable and manipulative.

“This was evident from the way he attempted to coerce his victim into lying about his offending and the explicit conversations he had with other paedophiles online.

“The NCA will continue to protect children by identifying those offenders who pose the highest risk and ensuring they are held accountable for their actions.”

Langford was dismissed by his employer in January last year.