Former Rugby Labour Cllr and teacher uploaded pictures of children to website used by paedophiles

A former Rugby Labour Cllr and teacher has been banned from teaching after posting pictures of children as young as three on a Russian website used by paedophiles.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 5:42 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:53 am
Steven Birkett.

Steven Birkett took images from social media to upload to the foreign site.

Explicit images of children are uploaded to the website, alongside pictures of boys and girls in school uniforms.

Birkett was the Cllr for New Bilton between 2012 and 2017 - he posted the photos of children between 2007 and 2017.

He labelled the folders containing the images ‘Cute 3/4 yo’, ‘Little Cuties’ and ‘Cute [girl’s name] 8yo’.

Birkett was detained by Northamptonshire Police in 2016 but no further action was taken.

Birkett was suspended from his day job as a history teacher at Chenderit school, in Middleton Cheney, Oxon, but resigned before an investigation could be concluded.

Last week he was indefinitely banned from teaching.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) said Birkett set up his website account using an email address containing a schoolboy’s name.

While none of the pictures uploaded by Birkett were explicit, panel chair Tony James said: “He uploaded photographs of children to a website that he knew was frequented by people with a sexual interest in children.”

The Rugby Labour chairman when Birkett was a Cllr, Alan Webb, last week said: “Nobody had a clue. He said he was leaving to move to Lancashire - I believe he got a job in Manchester. This is news to me.”

He added: "We are shocked and appalled to hear this news. It is deeply worrying that behaviour like this is often hidden from even people’s closest friends.

"It is quite incomprehensible why anyone would want to behave like this.

"Whilst our immediate feelings are of revulsion, we also trust the judgement of the police authority who we assume are in possession of all the facts.

"Meanwhile, our thoughts are with the children and families affected, both within our communities and beyond."

Birkett’s resignation as Cllr was announced by the Labour party in February 2017. A statement said he had “resigned with immediate effect” and was moving north to be close to his family.

The decision to ban Mr Birkett from teaching was taken by Alan Meyrick, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP.

Mr Meyrick said: "There is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this risks the future well-being of children.”

Chenderit head teacher Jane Cartwright said: “This has been a distressing matter for our school community and we are doing all we can to support students, parents and staff at the current time.

"However, I would like to reassure everyone in our community that no Chenderit students were involved in this.”