Former teacher from Robertsbridge sentenced over sexual offences

Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer
Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer

A former teacher now living in Robertsbridge has been sentenced over 15 sexual offences relating to young boys.

Andrew Witham, 47, a cleaner, of High Street, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday, March 31.

He will be a registered sexual offender for life and was also served with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), severely restricting his access to children and to computers until further court notice.

Witham, who was a music teacher working at a school in Kent at the time his arrest, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to nine counts of making indecent images of children, two counts of taking indecent images of children, one count of paying for the sexual services of a boy via the internet, two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a boy via the internet and one count of causing a child to commit a sexual act via the internet.

He had pleaded not guilty to another offence, of sexual assault on a child in London in 2008.

The court ordered this should not be proceeded with and should remain on the court file.

The two offences of taking indecent images of children took place when he photographed two boys from the flat where he was then living in south east London.

All the other offences were committed at his current home address and none of those related to local children or pupils at any schools where he had taught.

Much of that offending took place over the internet, involving boys who were befriended by Witham.

He offers his services as a private music teacher, and had worked for 25 years as a music teacher at two private preparatory schools, in Kent and in south east London.

He had also been involved in local churches where he lived in London.

This investigation followed information being passed to the Sussex Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) in 2014.

A warrant was executed at his home address and a protracted and detailed investigation took place which uncovered a long history of offending for which Witham has now been sentenced.

Detective Constable Jackie Keogh, of POLIT, said: “It is clear that Witham has had a long-term sexual interest in young teenage boys from the ages of 12.

“He had placed himself in a role that would bring him into daily contact with young boys.

“The investigation has taken more than a year to finalise and numerous computer items were examined in order that all evidence should be uncovered. Witham pleaded guilty in court at the earliest opportunity and has now been sentenced for all offences.

“Anyone who has any concerns on learning of this case can always contact Sussex Police on 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, and arrange to talk in confidence to detectives.”

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