Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Woman teacher exposed as 'predatory paedophile' who sexually abused young children she followed into public toilets

By Chris Brooke
Last updated at 7:33 PM on 07th October 2009

An apparently respectable woman teacher has been exposed as a 'predatory paedophile' who sexually assaulted children 100 times.

Carole Clarke, 46, has told police that she systematically attacked boys and girls over a 17-year period by following them into public toilets.

The offences were primarily committed against youngsters aged between four and seven and she always acted alone, Grimsby Crown Court was told.

Carole Clarke

Facing jail: Former teacher Carole Clarke, pictured here in 2006, admitted following children into public toilets to sexually assault them

Clarke, a part-time college tutor, is facing a lengthy jail sentence after pleading guilty to six charges on the day she was due to stand trial.

She has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on December 14.

Although the assaults dated back to 1992, Clarke was not arrested until January this year when a health worker raised concerns with police.

The exact number of offences and victims is unknown but the court heard how Clarke told police she committed around 100 offences on a small number of children.

She also admitted two counts of indecently assaulting a child during or before June 1992 and three charges of sexually assaulting a girl under 13 during or before August 2008.

One of the sexual assaults occurred in a public toilet in Grimsby's Market Hall, while two others occurred in public toilets in Woodhall Spa. Six other counts of sexual assault, which she denied, will remain on file.

Clarke, who was reported after seeking help from mental health professionals, has been on remand since her arrest in January.

Detective Sergeant Stewart Watson, of Humberside Police, said: 'Predatory paedophiles such as Carole Clarke are rare. There are claims between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of abuse against prepubescent children in the UK is committed by females.

'However, only about 5 per cent are thought to involve a woman acting alone. There are still those members of the public and even experts who ignore women's capacity for sexual abuse.

'Thankfully education is challenging these beliefs.'

Clarke worked as a part-time tutor for adult students at Franklin College in Grimsby between October 2003 and April 2007, and also taught adults from home.

Principal Peter Newcome said: 'She was employed as a part-time tutor for adult learners, teaching English for speakers of another language.

'She taught very much in the open with people around and had no students under the age of 19.'

The case follows the shocking prosecution of nursery worker Vanessa George, 39, who admitted carrying out a string of child sex offences at Bristol Crown Court last week.

Mother-of-two George, who worked at the Little Ted's Nursery in Plymouth, teamed up with Colin Blanchard, 38, and Angela Allen, 39, to form a paedophile ring after meeting on Facebook.

The trio, who had never met until their appearance in court, carried out a series of sex attacks on young children and exchanged sickening images over the internet.

The case caused a national furore because it involved horrific abuse by a woman trusted to care for children.

But the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity which deals with female sex offenders, said up to a fifth of paedophiles are women.

Michele Elliott, director of charity Kidscape, said: 'The reality is women abuse. I think we have to acknowledge it for the sake of the children who are being abused.'

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