The Head of a primary school who had a haul of child abuse material, including a paedophile manual and over one million child abuse images, has been jailed for six years.
Thomas Singleton, 41, from Suffolk, was also one of the safeguarding leads at the school.
He was arrested by the National Crime Agency in February 2021, after investigators found he had accessed indecent images of children online from his house.
Officers seized laptops and a number of digital storage devices from his home.
They also recovered a toddler-sized doll, underwear and clothing for babies and young children, and a silicone sex aid made to resemble a child’s genitals.
Singleton does not have any children and when questioned, he could provide no explanation for who the doll and clothing belonged to.
Analysis of his electronic devices showed he had 1,050,448 indecent images of children in categories A-C, 45,216 prohibited images of children, and 52 extreme pornographic images.
Within those were a collection of pseudo-images, which had been created by Singleton by superimposing himself into photos so it looked like he was engaging in sexual activity with children.
A 170 page paedophile manual entitled ‘How to practice child love’ was found on Singleton’s hard drive. The introduction to the document explains that it is ‘a guide to practicing sex with children without fear of doing harm’. It contains a number of chapters which provide advice and guidance on how to sexually abuse children and avoid being detected.
Officers also recovered a number of online chat logs in which he spoke with other like-minded individuals about child sexual abuse.
Some chats show him partaking in ‘age play’, where both users participate in a fantasy in which one of them pretends to be a child engaging in sexual activity with the other.
On his devices and stored around his home, Singleton had documents which described child abuse scenarios and could be ‘personalised’ to include names of the user’s choosing. These also corresponded to hand-drawn flowcharts found in his house.
Some of the charts were stored in a folder labelled ‘Tom’s Action Folder’ and described detailed sexual acts between the reader and the subject of the flowchart.
Singleton resigned as a teacher during the course of the investigation.
He was charged with eight offences, including taking indecent pseudo-images of a child (categories A-B), making indecent images (categories A-C) and possession of a paedophile manual.
He pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced today at Ipswich Crown Court to six years in prison.
He is also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and has been placed on the Sex Offender Register indefinitely.
NCA Operations Manager Michael Parkinson said: “As a safeguarding lead and the Head of a primary school, Singleton supposedly represented a dependable figure of safety and trust for young children, their families and the school community.
“This investigation showed he grossly abused that position.
“His house was filled with a large, disturbing collection of items which proved beyond doubt his sexual interest in children.
“Of particular concern was an extensive paedophile manual which offered explicit, practical guidance on how to carry out abuse.
“This case highlights how an offender’s behaviour can escalate, from downloading abuse material to finding a community of like-minded individuals online who normalise and even encourage this criminal behaviour.
“Identifying such individuals at the earliest opportunity and disrupting this pattern of offending before they can commit real-world abuse is a top priority for the National Crime Agency.”
13 October 2022