‘Sex dungeon’ principal who defrauded school out of £100,000 has been banned from teaching
- Credit: Archant
A school principal who turned his office into a “sex dungeon” and helped himself to nearly £103,000 of school funds has been banned from teaching for life.
James Stewart, 74, who had been principal of Sawtry Community College for nearly 30 years, blew the money on custom-made furniture, drink and smoked salmon for his office, which he had converted into an apartment, complete with a bed and cooking equipment.
Stewart, who was paid £120,000 a year, was jailed for four years in October 2017, after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud, alongside an addition charge of misconduct in a public office.
A report which was published today (Friday) by the Teaching Regulation Agency, has ruled that Stewart will be banned for teaching indefinitely.
The panel found that due to Stewart's conviction and imprisonment, it would "seriously affect the public confidence in the teaching profession and given the influence that teachers may have on pupils, parents and others in the community".
The panel, which was chaired by Roger Woods, said that although he had no previous convictions, "these behaviours include fraud or serious dishonesty".
The report said: "The panel found that Mr Stewart had been responsible for serious and systematic fraud over a prolonged period of time for which he was subsequently convicted and received a custodial sentence.
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"Whilst Mr Stewart previously had a good record, the panel found no evidence that the teacher's actions were not deliberate, nor was he acting under duress. In fact, the panel found the teacher's actions to be calculated, motivated and sustained for a number of years."
Back in 2017, the Cambridge Crown Court heard how Stewart, of Kimbolton Road, Bedford, was having an affair with another adult and they were seen coming out of his office with wine stains around their mouths and with their hair and clothing awry.
Alongside other expenditures, Stewart spent £4,000 on oak and glass doors for his office, together with hand-crafted furniture and bought live oysters from a shop as well as alcohol.
The horse racing fan was even spotted on TV at Newmarket races with his personal assistant and took annual skiing holidays during term time.
Stewart had also spent money on sex toys at a nearby sex shop and other staff had been prevented from going into the "inner sanctum" at his office.
Access to the office was gained after a roofing worker spotted a sex toy inside and filmed the room.
The panel concluded: "James Stewart is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England. Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decide that James Stewart shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach."
Stewart will now have 28 days to appeal to the High Court if unhappy with the panel's decision.