School worker jailed for sexual abuse of two girls

School worker jailed for sexual abuse of two girls

Hardley School, now known as The New Forest Academy

Frederick Brookes

First published in New Forest Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Court Reporter

HE was once a pillar of the community who helped teach hundreds of children.

But devious Frederick Brookes is today starting a ten-year jail term for his sickening abuse of two young girls and downloading more than 12,000 vile pornographic images.

The disturbing pictures – many of which were described as depicting elements of sadism – had to be viewed by Judge Gary Burrell QC, who described them as some of the worst he had ever been forced to see during his 30-year legal career.

Southampton Crown Court heard how 62- year-old Brookes – known to many by his middle name Paul – was only brought to justice after his own wife shopped him to police last year.

She had become worried and increasingly suspicious of her husband – who was working as an IT assistant at what was then Hardley School in Holbury, New Forest – because he kept plying the girls with sweets and biscuits.

The court was told how both of his victims were under the age of ten. One of them was left suffering nightmares, terrified he was going to get her.

Parents of the children, who were not pupils at the school, had also been totally betrayed by Brookes and they now felt like they could no longer trust anyone.

The court was told how Brookes even groomed a third girl to help him take video footage of one victim as she lay helplessly naked, tied up and looking desperately uncomfortable at what he was doing.

Prosecutor James Newton-Price said Brookes had met his wife in 2001 when teaching in India and she was a student. They married and moved to the United Kingdom.

But when he began giving the youngsters so many sweets and biscuits she considered it unhealthy, it prompted her to ask one girl if he had done anything to her. Initially the young girl said no but later went on to reveal that he had – something that Brookes denied.

Mr Newton-Price told how, after a night’s reflection, Mrs Brookes spoke to the parents of the girls and the police were informed. When questioned, Brookes admitted he had played with the children but denied touching them.

He was then asked if they would find any sexual images on his computer and Brookes replied: “Oh, God, no”.

Police, however, examined it and discovered sickening images had been either deleted or encrypted – but they were able to recover them.

The court heard five moving images had been broken down frame by frame to show 196 still images featuring one of the girls he had filmed tied up with a video camera zooming in and out on her.

Brookes had downloaded more than 12,000 other pornographic images of children, of which nearly 1,000 were at the most serious level and involved sadism.

When police interviewed him, Brookes said he needed help and was embarrassed and disgusted with himself.

Impact statements from the parents of Brookes’s victims were read to the court, with one couple saying he had totally betrayed them and they found it difficult to trust anyone again. They said Brookes had fooled everyone, and their daughter was now suffering nightmares.

The second girl’s parents said their daughter was once outgoing and confident but she was now too scared to sleep on her own and had become withdrawn.

Brookes, 62, of Stem Lane, New Milton, admitted six counts of sexual assault and 18 charges of making indecent images.

In addition to the jail sentence, he was given a sexual offences prevention order banning access to children and the Internet, he was placed on the sex offenders’ register and disqualified from working with children – all for life.

In mitigation, Rebecca Austin said Brookes, of previous good character, had shown regret and remorse. She said: “He has lost everything – his wife, his job, his home.

“He has also lost his good reputation and he has no friends. He has been suffering from depression and taking medication for it. He was not doing it for financial gain and has not shared the images with anyone.”

But passing sentence, the judge said: “What you did to those girls was truly abhorrent. You breached the trust of their parents and your abuse has left their families quite distraught and you have damaged those children as well. You are in my opinion a parent’s worst nightmare.

“It is clear from the parents you were someone they trusted, as well they might because you were a pillar of the community.”

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