A former prep school teacher has been jailed for 10 years after admitting more than a dozen sexual offences.

Stuart McCulloch, 57, formerly of Walthamstow, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday after admitting sexually assaulting a boy from the age of 11 to 14 in February 2000 to February 2004.

He also admitted sexually assaulting a seven year-old girl. 

McCulloch taught at Snaresbrook Preparatory School, in Woodford Road, between 2000 and this year. None of the offences relate to pupils at the South Woodford school.

The nature of the crimes came to light in February of this year after the young girl told her parents what had happened and it was reported it to the police.

McCulloch then sparked a missing person’s search two days after being charged with the sex offences on February 15 and fleeing to Eastbourne in East Sussex.

On March 14 he was found by a police officer in a public library in Eastbourne and admitted the allegations in their entirety after child pornography was found on his iPad.

Judge Owen also sentenced McCulloch to six months for possession of indecent images and six months for failing to appear at court whilst at large earlier this year.

Sentencing McCulloch, who is also a former police officer, Judge Owen said: "This is very serious and rightly attracts long sentences.

"These crimes represent an enormous betrayal of trust whereby you abused a boy in a classic grooming case.

"Your victims will grow up believing your corrupt, perverse and despicable behaviour was OK.
"I only hope the victims can come to terms with these offences over time."

On May 12, he pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault, six counts of indecency with a child, one charge of sexual assault on a child aged under 13 and two counts of possession of indecent images of a child.

In a statement, headteacher Christopher Curl said: "The school is aware that Stuart McCulloch, a former teacher at Snaresbrook Prep School, is shortly to be sentenced in relation to charges of gross indecency and indecent assault.

"It is important to note that the police have confirmed that there is no investigation in relation to the school, its staff or pupils.

"There are no allegations or charges which relate to Mr McCulloch's role as a teacher at Snaresbrook Prep School.

"Neither the school nor the staff were aware of any issue relating to the charges before or during Mr McCulloch's employment by the school until the police involvement leading to his arrest.

"The school wishes to take this opportunity to confirm that all relevant checks were undertaken in relation to Mr McCulloch's appointment."

Upon release, McCulloch will have his internet activity strictly monitored, is banned from living with children under the age of 16 and will remain on the sex offenders register for life.