Paul Cannon, a former primary school teacher was sentenced to jail for four years today at Croydon Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to 21 offences of historical sexual abuse including 12 counts of indecent images of a child.
Cannon was arrested and charged for crimes he committed 13 years ago after a victim found courage to come forward in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal.
Over a period of 10 years from 1999-2009, Cannon preyed on children in Sutton, Carshalton and Merton. Riding on a mountain bike with sunglasses on , Cannon approached the children by asking them for directions and whether there were any toilets nearby.
He later asked them to take inappropriate pictures in exchange for money.
Prosecutor Anthony Heaton-Armstrong said his victims had been “traumatised”. One victim told the court: “It’s changed who I am”
In most cases, the victims were female between the ages of six and thirteen including a child with learning difficulties.
The court heard that none were from his primary school though a headteacher told police he had become “inappropriately close” to some children asking them to sit on his lap.
Detective Sergeant, Nick Troon, from the Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “A prolific offender, he no doubt thought that given the passage of time he was unlikely to ever be held accountable for his actions”
In 2012, a woman came forward reporting that a man named, “Paul”, had taken indecent images of her in 1999. The police investigated Paul Cannon and arrested him at his home, recovering more than 4,000 indecent images and movies of children, including images of swimming pool changing rooms.
His DNA was matched with the National DNA database disclosing more victims.
Troon said: “I hope today’s result will encourage other victims to come forward and report allegations, regardless of the passage of time and nature of the offence.”
In the last year there have been an increase of 1436 allegations of sexual abuse reported to the Metropolitan Police Service.
Troon added: “I believe there may well be further victims of Cannon out there and would encourage anyone who recognises him in connection with offences to report the matter to police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call DS Nick Troon or DC Becky Collins on 0208 217 6431 or 0208 217 6430.
By Chu Kuan Yuan