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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Dangerous paedophile had Cumbrian school pupils helping him on market stall

A child sex offender banned from contact with under 16s had school pupils helping him on his stall at a farmers’ market.

Donald Hunt photo
Donald Hunt

Donald Hunt, 58, was convicted in 2006 of a sexual assault on a 14-year-old pupil at a school in Lancashire and was not allowed to be with children under 16 unsupervised, under the terms of his sex offences prevention order.

But the former head of RE at Whitehaven School was back in court after he was accused of breaching the order by going to a school in west Cumbria between April 4 last year and March 28 this year.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard how Hunt, of Gosforth Road, Seascale, had gone to Holme St Cuthbert’s Primary School, at Mawbray, to help at a farmers’ market last June. He was working for the Lakeland Cheese Company and had a stall at the market.

Prosecutor Andrew Travis said Hunt was responsible for the cheese company’s shop and attended farmers’ markets to do promotion work.

Primary school headmistress Sheila Daniel told the court that she spoke to Hunt over the phone to explain about the event and asked him to bring samples of cheese.

“I told him the pupils were organising the event and they would sell the produce, set the stalls up and do the cashing up,” she said.

Hunt, however, claimed he could not remember her telling him that children would be there.

During the four-hour trial, the court heard how two girls helped out on his stall and a boy came to help. There was no suggestion he had done anything wrong at the market, the court heard, simply that he shouldn’t have been there.

Mr Travis said Hunt had also failed to tell the cheese company of his conviction when he applied for the job.

Geoff Lockerbie, defending, said Hunt would “not have gone to this market if he had known children would be involved”.

Hunt denied breaching his order, saying he could not remember reading the actual sexual offences order. He admitted, with “hindsight”, he knew he shouldn’t have been there.

Hunt was described by the sentencing judge in Lancashire as a “dangerous paedophile” who abused his position of trust after he indecently assaulted a boy in a storeroom at a school in Lancashire 1984.

He was suspended from his post at Whitehaven in September 2004 after the legal proceedings began.

Earlier in 2000, he had been given a formal warning at Whitehaven after he approached a 12-year-old boy about underwear modelling. He took the boy to a storeroom and asked him if he had the body to model before lifting up the boy’s shirt.

He will be sentenced on October 17.

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