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Former headteacher convicted of sex offences against children

15 May 2024 5 minute read
Neil Foden, a former National Union of Teachers official in Wales, arriving at Mold Crown Court. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A former high school headteacher has been found guilty of sexual offences against four girls.

Neil Foden, 66, who worked at a school in north Wales, was convicted on Tuesday at Mold Crown Court of 19 offences.

The trial heard Foden abused the four complainants over a four-year period.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on the charges and cleared Foden of one count of sexual activity with a child on Wednesday afternoon, after a day of deliberations.

Judge Rhys Rowlands warned the defendant, who did not appear to react in the dock, he would face a lengthy custodial sentence.

‘Arrogant controlling personality’

He said: “Some of the explanations for your behaviour towards the victims proffered by you during the course of the trial at times frankly beggared belief.”

He said the fact Foden put forward the explanations was borne out of his “arrogant controlling personality as an individual who is used to getting your own way”.

He added: “You were a powerful figure, you thought you could just do as you liked.”

The court was shown a video of the defendant holding the hand of one of the girls, child A, as she sat in the back of his car, while he was in the driver’s seat.

Foden, who was previously an executive member for the National Education Union, was arrested after child A showed an adult a photo of them together and screenshots of messages about oral sex.

She told police: “He would say he loved me. After a while it got a bit more sexual.

“After we kissed a few days later he put his hands down my pants, so the text messages would be like, what he wanted to do to me.”

‘Sex toy’

The court heard he would pick her up in his car and drive them to secluded areas.

Another complainant, child E, told police she referred to Foden as Mr P, for perfect, while he called her “his little sex toy”.

She also described meeting the defendant in his BMW car, which had personalised number plates, and driving to remote laybys and country lanes “for him to have a play with me”.

After Foden was arrested, police later found a pair of purple and black lace handcuffs in the boot of his car which had DNA present matching Foden and the youngster.

Foden was accused of pinching the thigh of child B and putting his hand under her clothing.

Child C alleged he had placed his hand at the top of her inner thighs.

Foden denied all of the offences and said he was not an “abusive adult”.

He told the jury he was not able to have sex because of erectile dysfunction caused by a medical condition.

Asked about a message he sent to child A in which he said he felt “slightly horny”, he said: “The sad reality is Mr Foden couldn’t feel slightly horny if he wanted to.”

He said the message was meant to be “complimentary” and make the girl “feel attractive”.

Dismissed

The court heard concerns about Foden were raised with Gwynedd Council at an earlier stage.

Judge Rowlands said: “When real concerns were first raised about the defendant with the county council they were simply dismissed, pretty much out of hand.”

He said no investigation was carried out and no notes were taken.

He added: “We now know he continued to offend. That’s very concerning indeed.”

Foden, of Old Colwyn, was convicted of 12 counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust, and one count each of causing or inciting child sexual activity, attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, sexual communication with a child, possession of indecent photographs of a child and sexual assault of a child.

He was cleared of one count of sexual activity with a child, where he was alleged to have touched the bottom of child D.

He was remanded in custody ahead of a sentencing hearing on July 1.

Safe

Responding to the case, Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rocio Cifuentes said: “All children have a right to be safe and to learn without fear of abuse. Neil Foden denied children this right, abusing his position of authority and failing those he had a duty to care for.

“The actions surrounding these offences and how concerns were dealt with must now be fully investigated. I contacted the local authority for assurances as soon as I was made aware of Mr Foden’s arrest in connection with these offences.

“I’ll be meeting with senior officials from the authority in the next few weeks to establish what steps they’ll be taking to learn from this.

“Professionals working with children have a duty to report any concerns about suspected risk of abuse, and children who come forward must be listened to and taken seriously. If anyone is unsure about whether or where to take any concerns forward they can contact my office or the NSPCC.”


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NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
8 days ago

The inaction by Gwynedd County Council is shocking in this case as described by the Judge and heads should roll.

Tom
Tom
7 days ago

Dyfrig Siencyn as leader and Beca Brown as cabinet member for education should consider their positions. Beca Brown has been vocal against Jonathan Edwards but this is much more serious and happened, despite warnings, under her watch!

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