St Benedict’s School deputy head Peter Allott ‘stored child porn in his office’

Deputy head at leading Catholic school ‘stored child porn in his office’: Teacher accused of possessing 400 images and videos

Peter Allott, 36, was arrested by officers from a specialist child abuse team
Material was allegedly discovered from his iPhone and hard drive
He was charged with possessing almost 400 illegal images and videos

A leading independent Catholic school was plunged into a new scandal yesterday after its deputy head teacher was accused of possessing indecent images of children.

Peter Allott, 36, from St Benedict’s School, Ealing, was arrested by officers from a specialist child abuse team at the National Crime Agency (NCA).

He was charged with possessing almost 400 illegal images and videos, the majority of which were classified as the most depraved available.

The material was allegedly recovered from his iPhone and a hard drive kept in his office at the prestigious £15,000-a-year school.

The arrest comes as the school battles to emerge from the shadow of a controversy over its failure to protect children in the past.

The school and its linked Benedictine monastery, Ealing Abbey, were condemned four years ago for a ‘lengthy and cumulative failure’ to protect pupils in its care.

The scandal, which was not connected to Allott, led to five monks and three former teachers being linked to child abuse.

Parents of current pupils at the school were informed of the arrest of Allott in a letter from Christopher Cleugh, the headmaster.

Yesterday, Allott, a former Tory councillor, appeared before magistrates’ in Ealing accused of five offences.

The court heard how the indecent files and films were allegedly found on his mobile phone and his personal hard drive which he kept in his office at school.

Prosecution Ms Stella Waata said there were more than 260 images and videos of ‘category A’, the most extreme form.

The offences involve claims he possessed indecent images of children and extreme pornography.

Allott, dressed smartly in a camel coloured jacket, spoke only to confirm his name and address.

Remanding him in custody, magistrate Lois Sheard ordered him to appear before Blackfriar’s Crown Court later this month.

Outside court, Miss Waata added: ‘Mr Allott is facing charges relating to possession of 340 indecent films and 34 graphic image files, all found on his mobile and personal hard drive.’

Allott, a graduate of Durham and Cambridge Universities, has worked for St Benedict’s since 2004, and was promoted to deputy head teacher in 2012.

Justice Lowell Goddard has said that the English Benedictine Congregation would be one of the first institutions to be investigated by the national child abuse inquiry.

In 2011 leading QC Lord Carlile, who was brought in to review the controversy, concluded that the school was ‘an excellent place for boys and girls to be educated in safety.’

But the abbey’s handling of the case of Father David Pearce, who abused boys at the school over a period of 35 years, was particularly criticised.

A former abbot, Father Laurence Soper, jumped bail before he could be charged with child abuse offences and remains on the run.

In his letter to parents, Mr Cleugh said Allott will be suspended, told to avoid any contact with pupils and ordered to vacate school premises.

He said: ‘There is no suggestion at this stage that any offences have taken place on school premises or involve any other members of staff or students at St Benedict’s.

‘In the meantime, I would ask that everyone respect the privacy of Mr Allott and avoid speculating about the police inquiry.

‘A police investigation is now under way, with which the school is, of course, fully co-operating.’

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