A TEACHER who was cleared of sexually touching pupils a North Yorkshire primary school over a decade ago has now been jailed for numerous child sex offences in Milton Keynes.

Neil Francis, aged 46, formerly of Conyers Road, East Cowton, North Yorkshire, was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment at Amersham Crown Court on Tuesday February 8.

A jury found him guilty of 19 counts of sexual assault and eight counts of indecent assault.

Read more: Paedophile's sickening crimes of more than 40 years 'stole the life' of his victim

The court heard that in the 2000s, Francis sexually and indecently assaulted 11 female pupils while working as a teacher at a school in Milton Keynes.

The offences were first reported to Thames Valley Police in December 2017 and Francis was charged on February 26 last year.

In June 2009 Francis was cleared at Teesside Crown Court of touching three girls aged under 13 at a North Yorkshire primary school in a sexual manner.

At the time, Francis was living in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, and was suspended from the school he taught in after the allegations came to light.

But he wasn’t arrested and told of the precise nature of the complaints until a year later.

And when the case went before Teesside Crown Court in June 2009 he was cleared on eight counts of sexual assault by a jury which deliberated for less than 45 minutes.

At the Teesside hearing, Judge Peter Armstrong criticised the “unacceptable” delays in the case being brought to court and questioned why it had taken two years from the point at which child witnesses were interviewed by police to the case being brought to trial.

Now that Francis has faced justice for his crimes in Milton Keynes, Detective Constable Michele Weston, of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, based at Milton Keynes police station, said: “This investigation has taken four years to complete and involved the tenacity of several police officers and members of staff.

“This was a case where a teacher, who was in a position of trust, sexually abused 11 of his female pupils.

“I have nothing but admiration for each and every one of those victims who took the time to come to court and tell the awful tale of what happened to them - they should be extremely proud of themselves.

“I hope now that the victims can start to rebuild their lives with an assurance that they have played their part in protecting other vulnerable females from this defendant.”

The jury also found Francis not guilty of one count of sexual assault and were discharged on two other counts of sexual assault, which will lie on file.


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