Wigan deputy head who admitted to horrific catalogue of child sex crimes has been jailed for 13 years and four months.

A Wigan deputy headteacher who confessed to 18 child sexual abuse offences, including two rapes has been sent to prison for more than 13 years.
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Liverpool Crown Court heard Julie Morris, 44, the safeguarding lead at St George’s Central CE Primary School in Tyldesley, and partner David Morris filmed themselves abusing and raping the victim, a girl under the age of 13, in a series of videos.

At the hearing on Wednesday December 22, Julie Morris, wearing glasses, a facemask and a cream cable knit jumper, entered guilty pleas to two counts of rape, nine of inciting child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity and two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

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She also admitted three counts of taking indecent images of a child, one of engaging in sexual communication with a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

Julie Morris, of Ancroft Drive, Hindley, was given a prison sentence totalling 13 years and four months.

Paul Becker, defending her, said she had “lost everything in life”, including her reputation, career and home.

He said: “She was held in high regard prior to her offending.”

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He said that when she met David Morris she was at a “low ebb” after she discovered her husband of 15 years had been unfaithful.

In interview, Julie Morris admitted the offences but claimed the victim had wanted to take part.

Judge Menary said: “That last statement is breath-taking in its inappropriateness.”

David Morris, 52, who pleaded guilty to 34 offences at an earlier hearing was jailed for 16 years, with an extended licence period of four years, for 34 offences, including seven counts of rape and 13 counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

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The court heard the videos showed Julie Morris giggling as the abuse took place.

The offences are not related to Julie Morris’s employment at St George's.

John Wyn Williams, prosecuting, said the couple met on dating app Plenty of Fish in 2016 after both had separated from their partners and the relationship “quickly became intensely sexual”.

He said: “The communication between them became graphic and depraved which led to some of their sexual fantasies becoming a reality.”

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Mr Wyn Williams said the couple’s “sordid secret” was revealed when police found a conversation about sexual abuse of children involving David Morris in a phone seized during a search warrant.

He was arrested but cautioned and released and a number of devices were seized, which showed the recordings of rape and sexual abuse, the court heard.

Mr Wyn Williams said both defendants were arrested the following day as they appeared to be trying to evade police.

He said: “They were on their way to the Lake District in a camper van with £10,000 in their possession.”

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As well as videos and images on David Morris’s phone, officers trawled through 175,000 pages of messages between the couple, revealing sexually explicit communications.

The pair also set up a group chat with the victim in which they would talk about how they would abuse her, the court heard.

Honorary Recorder of Liverpool judge Andrew Menary said: “Every now and again you see cases, the circumstances of which are almost beyond belief. This is one of those cases.

“It demonstrates that human depravity really knows no depths.”

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David Morris, of Sandfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to seven counts of rape, 13 counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, taking indecent images, of categories A, B and C, possessing and distributing indecent images, two counts of engaging in sexual communications with a child, three counts of voyeurism, possession of an extreme pornographic image and possession of a prohibited image of a child.

Charles Lander, defending David Morris, said he had showed genuine remorse and was “under no illusions” that he would be going to prison for a long time.

He said the couple’s “toxic relationship” had come to an end.

Mairead Neeson, senior prosecutor at the CPS, said the case was one of the worst she had seen in her career, adding: “The descriptions of what they did are so horrific that when I finished reading them. I burst into tears.

“It’s a young child whose innocence has been stolen.”

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An NSPCC spokesperson said: “As a safeguarding lead at a primary school, Julie Morris’ role was to help ensure children were protected from harm, and she would have been very aware of the devastating effects of child abuse. It is a particularly disturbing feature of this case that someone in such a position could go on to groom and sexually abuse a young girl.

“We hope the victim is receiving the support she needs, and would urge anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, no matter when it happened, to speak out and seek support to ensure offenders like Julie and David Morris face justice.”

Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or through the website at www.childline.org.uk

Adults with concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a child can phone the NSPCC helpline on 0808 8005000 or email [email protected]

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Det Chief Insp Bev Hyland said: “These extremely serious offences committed by Julie and David Morris have had a devastating impact on the victims and their families.

“The defendants were fully aware of their actions when committing these deplorable offences and we welcome the lengthy sentences of 16years and 13 years given out by the court today. I hope that some comfort can now be taken now that the defendants will be spending a significant amount of time in prison and can no longer cause any further harm to children.

“I would like to thank the detectives on the investigation team who have worked tirelessly to gather the evidence to bring Julie and David Morris to justice.

“What makes this case even more concerning is the fact that Julie Morris held a position of trust as a teacher, she held the role of safeguarding lead, and yet she saw fit in her own personal life to completely disregard all of the responsibilities and the trust that her role held.

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“The significant sentence today is testament to our team’s commitment and dedication to get justice for the defendants’ victims. It further shows that Merseyside Police are completely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and those who seek to do them harm.

“We would urge any child, or young person who is a victim of sexual abuse, or anyone who knows of a child being abused, to come forward and report this to police.

“We have a specialist team committed to dealing with all forms of child abuse, who will treat any information from you extremely seriously, and will follow up every report and any information that comes in.

"Merseyside Police wish to thank members of the public who showed great courage in providing information which was key to Merseyside Police convicting Julie and David Morris.

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“If you have any suspicions about children who could be at risk of child abuse, please report this to us. We can make an assessment and take the necessary action.

“Call 999 if you suspect such an incident is in progress, or pass any other information via 101, @MerPolCC on social media, or anonymously via 0800 555 111."

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