Primary school teacher and her partner who recorded themselves sexually abusing a child are jailed

A paedophile primary school teacher and her partner who videoed themselves sexually abusing a child have been put behind bars.
School teacher Zoe Williams, 30, and her business analyst boyfriend Thomas Surtees, 37, have been jailedSchool teacher Zoe Williams, 30, and her business analyst boyfriend Thomas Surtees, 37, have been jailed
School teacher Zoe Williams, 30, and her business analyst boyfriend Thomas Surtees, 37, have been jailed

Zoe Williams, 30, and her business analyst boyfriend Thomas Surtees, 37 sent WhatsApp messages to each other fantasising about children.

The true shocking extent of their offending was exposed when Surtees was arrested for sex assaults on five child victims, which did not involve Williams, and his phone was seized. Vile recordings of sex attacks carried out by the couple, on a child, were found on the device and when Williams' handset was examined it contained similar sickening material.

The pair also had indecent images of other children. Williams, who has a degree in crime investigation and psychology, was suspended from her job at Ellingham Church of England Primary School, in rural Northumberland, when she was charged. None of the pupils at the school were victims of the offences.

Primary school teacher Zoe Williams was jailed for 10 years. Photo: Northumbria Police.Primary school teacher Zoe Williams was jailed for 10 years. Photo: Northumbria Police.
Primary school teacher Zoe Williams was jailed for 10 years. Photo: Northumbria Police.

At Newcastle Crown Court Williams has been jailed for ten years with a five year extended licence period and Surtees was locked up for 15 years with a five year extended licence. Judge Julie Clemitson said the pair were "fuelled by drink and drugs" when they attacked and told them: "I am satisfied you present a significant risk of causing serious harm to children by the commission of further offences."

Judge Clemitson said the pair made and kept the recordings of their victim for sexual gratification and "future pleasure".

The judge told them: "You both deny having a sexual interest in children. I have read WhatsApp messages where you communicate with each other about abusing children. Both of you admitted engaging in role play involving the abuse of children."

Thomas Surtees was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Photo: Northumbria Police.Thomas Surtees was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Photo: Northumbria Police.
Thomas Surtees was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Photo: Northumbria Police.

Judge Clemitson said Williams' attitude towards children was "anything other than pastoral" when she was engaging with Surtees and she even "encouraged" his offending. The pair, who were branded "monsters" by the mum of the victim they attacked, have to sign the sex offenders register for life and abide by a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.

Prosecutor Vince Wards said the video clips found on the phones showed both of them sexually assaulting the child and engaging in sexual activity together in the presence of the child. The court heard Surtees sent Williams an abuse image and her response was "it's hot as f***".

Williams, of Widdrington, Northumberland, admitted two charges of sexual assault of a child under 13, sexual activity in the presence of a child and three charges of making child abuse images. Surtees, of Wallsend, North Tyneside, admitted ten charges of sexual assault of a child, one of sexual activity in the presence of a child, three charges of making child abuse images, one of taking an indecent child image and one of sexual communication with a child.

Jeremy Barton, defending Surtees, said: "He really is remorseful for the dreadful things he has done. He is aware he needs some help."

Lorraine Mustard, defending Williams, said there was an "imbalance" in the relationship and added: "Colleagues had warned her Surtees appeared to be bad news."

Detective Chief Inspector Les Goodliff, of Northumbria Police, said: “First and foremost, I want to recognise the bravery of the victims in this case. It is thanks to their courage these two offenders have been brought to justice for these truly horrendous crimes. I hope this helps give the victims a sense of closure and they can continue to build their lives.”

He added: “We would urge all victims of sexual offences to come forward. Our message is clear, we are here to support you and we will seek to bring those responsible to justice.”

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