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'Pervert' headteacher witness plea

Published 24/06/2015

Anne Lakey was convicted of 13 counts of indecent assault at Teesside Crown Court
Anne Lakey was convicted of 13 counts of indecent assault at Teesside Crown Court

There could be more victims of a "dirty pervert" headteacher who has been jailed for eight years for having underage sex with two boys in the 1980s, police have said.

Disgraced Anne Lakey, 55, from Stanley, County Durham, had won national acclaim for improving schools but her successful career hid a sordid past.

She took the virginity of two boys - one aged 13-14 and another aged 15 - when she was in her late 20s, working as a history and RE teacher in Sunderland.

Judge Howard Crowson jailed her for eight years for the gross breach of trust after she was convicted at Teesside Crown Court of 13 counts of indecent assault.

She mouthed "I love you" to her father, husband David and daughter who were in the public gallery as she was led away.

One of the victims branded her in his statement as a "dirty pervert", adding: "As a kid I thought it was great what was happening, but now I see it for what it was - wrong."

The other victim said: "I realise I was a victim of sexual exploitation and I feel a sense of shame that I allowed myself to be in that position."

And outside court Detective Inspector Aelf Sampson said: "Throughout the investigation we have been aware that there may be other people involved in this inquiry who may come forward as victims and we would like them to make the approach to us."

Speaking about the two victims, she said: "At the time they may have thought it was fine but over the years they have come to realise how very, very wrong it actually is and it's been very tough for them come forward and brave of them to give evidence.

"They've seen her have a successful glittering career, they've seen her be praised by government around her position which was described as inspirational, and I think that did make it harder for them to come forward."

Ironically, her success "spurred on" the first victim to make his allegation, the detective said, "seeing her be so successful and thinking 'this isn't right'".

Lakey's climb up the career ladder saw her reach the position of chief executive of the Durham Federation, in charge of two secondary schools.

She was a national leader in education, lauded for improving pupils' exam performance.

She oversaw a huge change at Fyndoune Community College in Sacriston, which had been failing. It went on to be rated as "outstanding".

She was named in a Department for Education pamphlet as a "visionary leader" and described as "inspiring" by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of education.

That success ended when the younger victim sent an accusing email to school in December 2012, which led to her being suspended and prosecuted.

He said that while she was married to her second of three husbands, she groomed him and he was encouraged to expose her breasts during a dare game at her home.

She let him watch her bathe, then took his virginity on the marital bed while he was still in his school uniform.

Lakey phoned his school when he was truanting, pretended to be his mother and said he was sick. She also encouraged him to call her "mommy".

Meanwhile, she also took the older boy's virginity in her tent at a camp in the middle of the night after she encouraged him to sneak over.

Lakey went on to have repeated sexual relations with both boys.

Judge Howard Crowson told Lakey: "You used subtle persuasion and flattery, encouraging each boy to take his first tentative sexual steps with you."

He agreed that during her career she had been "an inspirational teacher and leader of schools", adding: "By your efforts it is clear you have improved the lives of many young people."

But, in the 1980s, the judge told her: "You corrupted two boys about half your age. They were naive and immature."

Tim Roberts QC, mitigating, said Lakey had received treatment for breast cancer in 2012 and would require ongoing care.

The judge added: "It will destroy the career you have worked so hard to build. You will find prison a particular hardship given the illness you have battled against."

Mr Roberts described his client's "excellent good character and her achievements in the last 25 years for the benefit of her local community and its young people".

She was anxious her cancer may return while she was in prison, away from her family, he said.

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