Former Deputy Headteacher jailed for child sex offences
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A former Deputy Headteacher in Wigan and her partner have been jailed for sexual offences against children today, Wednesday 22 December, following an extensive investigation by Merseyside Police.
On Thursday 2 September, police executed a warrant at David Morris’ address on Sandfield Road, Eccleston, St Helens, and seized his phone and computer and other digital equipment. He was arrested on suspicion of possession and distribution of indecent images of children, questioned by police and bailed with conditions.
The following day, Friday 3 September, Merseyside Police received information regarding David Morris and Julie Morris having committed sexual offences against a child, it was further reported the couple were planning to abscond.
Officers acted immediately and located Julie and David Morris at an address in Hindley. The couple were found to be in possession of £10,000 cash and their campervan was packed with their belongings indicating that they were about to abscond.
Both were arrested on suspicion of rape and were questioned by police before being charged and remanded in custody.
The police’s thorough analysis of 175,000 pages of chat logs, spanning across three years, revealed the couple’s sexual interest in young children.
Julie Morris, who was Deputy Headteacher at a primary school in Tyldesley, Wigan, also sent photographs of children at her school to David Morris. These photographs were not indecent, or criminal in nature, and there is no evidence that any of the children were harmed. None of the offences Julie Morris has been jailed for relate to her employment.
Merseyside Police and Wigan Council, the local education authority (LEA), have worked together holding a number of multi-agency meetings, and Wigan Council took swift action by terminating Julie Morris’ contract in September 2021.
After pleading guilty at Liverpool Crown Court today, Julie Morris, 44, of Ancroft Drive, Hindley was jailed for 13 years, four months, plus four years on extended licence, in relation to two counts of rape of a child under 13, sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual acts, taking indecent photographs of a child, sexual communications with a child and possession of indecent images of children.
Following an earlier guilty plea, David Morris, 52, of Sandfield Road, Eccleston, was sentenced to 16 years, plus four years on extended licence, in relation to seven counts of rape of a child under 13, sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, sexual communications with a child, taking indecent photographs of a child, possession of indecent images of a child, distribution of indecent images of a child, possession of prohibited images of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images and voyeurism.
Both Julie and David Morris were also given indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and will sign the sex offenders' register for life.
Detective Chief Inspector 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.
“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.
“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."
If you are a child or young person suffering sexual or physical abuse, the following organisations can also provide help and support:
NSPCC – call 0808 800 5000 or e-mail [email protected] Childline – call 0800 1111 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063 or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.