‘Sex dungeon’ principal who defrauded school of £100,000 is jailed for four years
- Credit: Archant
A college principal who turned his office into a “sex dungeon” and helped himself to nearly £103,000 of school funds has been jailed for four years.
James Stewart, 72, who had been principal of Sawtry Community College for nearly 30 years, blew the money on drink, smoked salmon and custom-made furniture for his office, which he had converted into an apartment, complete with a bed, dining area and cooking equipment.
Horseracing fan Stewart, who was paid £120,000 a year, was even spotted on television at Newmarket races and took annual skiing holidays in the school’s time, Huntingdon Crown Court was told.
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.
Charles Myatt, prosecuting, told how staff heard Stewart serenading the woman on an electric piano and sounds of him chasing her around the office like the Benny Hill TV show.
Stewart, who resigned during the investigation, admitted six fraud offences and a charge of misconduct in public office.
Former deputy principal Alan Stevens, 64, of Sapperton, Werrington, in Peterborough, admitted two fraud offences involving £364 of property paid for by school funds and was given a 24-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
- 1 Family pay tribute to brothers, 13 and 17, killed in horror BMW crash
- 2 Judge makes contempt of court ruling against Camp Beagle protesters
- 3 Boys, 13 and 17 killed in horror BMW crash near A47 in Peterborough
- 4 Recap: Severe disruption on Great Northern and Thameslink trains to London
- 5 Food delivery robots taking to streets of Cambridgeshire
- 6 Man in his 40s suffers ‘life-changing injuries’ in major crash on A14
- 7 Jacob Crawshaw memorial football match raises more than £8,100
- 8 Huge Victorian house with pool and gym on sale for £1.75m
- 9 First episode of tractor TV show features farmer in Cambridgeshire
- 10 Long queues at Peterborough passport office ahead of holiday season
He was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work, to pay £354.59 compensation and £2,000 towards the prosecution costs.
Judge Stuart Bridge told Stewart: “I am of the view that the only sentence the court can pass is a substantial sentence of immediate custody.
“By all accounts this was a serious abuse of position from a person who was in a high position of trust.”
Judge Bridge said: “I am sure there has been a serious detrimental impact on the school itself and the wider community of Sawtry.”
He told Stevens, who has been treated for cancer of the tongue: “It is clear to me you were in awe of Stewart and you did his bidding.”
Judge Bridge said Stevens’ offending was serious but of a lower scale than Stewart’s and that he was able to suspend the sentence.
The court heard that 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.
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.
The court was shown pictures of Stewart’s “sex dungeon”, including custom-made shelves, a fridge with bottles of wine, a pair of women’s pants and penis-shaped drinking straws.
Access to the office was gained after a roofing worker spotted a “large purple vibrator” inside and filmed the room.
Angus Bunyan, for Stewart, said his client was “contrite” and “repentant”.
David Swinnerton, for Stevens, said he was regarded as a “loyal and caring man” and acted as a counsellor to other cancer patients.