A PAEDOPHILE headteacher who made dozens of images of child sexual abuse – and had two of extreme animal abuse – has been jailed for more than two years. 

Daniel Chapman, 31, the fired principal of Hilltop Infant School in Wickford, admitted 12 counts including making indecent images of children, possessing images of extreme pornography and publishing indecent articles on messenger sites.

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None involved any children at the school.

Chapman had previously denied nine offences in June this year and was due to stand trial.

However, he changed his plea at Chelmsford Crown Court last month and admitted a dozen offences.

The 12 charges include six for making indecent images of children on August 8 last year and May 20 this year, two of which were category A, the most serious.

There were three charges for publishing obscene articles on the messenger apps Kik and WhatsApp, dating between September last year and May this year.

Chapman also admitted one count of possessing an indecent image of two children aged eight and ten-years-old, discovered on May 20 this year.

After his arrest the school sent a letter to parents.

It stated: “The safety and wellbeing of pupils is of paramount importance and we take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously. There is no suggestion that at any time our pupils were unsafe.”

Chapman, of Meadgate, Chelmsford, received two-and-a-half years in jail and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

He was also banned from working with children for life. 

Judge Patricia Lynch described him as a “despicable paedophile” and said he should be ashamed of his actions. 

During today's hearing, the court heard Chapman had initially told police he was in fact acting as a paedophile hunter and intended to hand over anyone he found 'dealing' with child images.

However, the police found there was no evidence of this. 

Chapman, as a head teacher, had also previously completed a CEOP Ambassador Course to protect children from sexual offences. 

A school spokesman said: "Mr Chapman no longer works for Hilltop Infant school. We are pleased that the criminal investigation process is now completed.

"We would like to thank the Hilltop parent community and staff for their patience and dignity during this difficult time. We know how stressful this has been for everyone.

"We also would like to thank the police and the Local authority safeguarding services for their advice and help. All agencies have worked very effectively together to ensure the safety of our pupils and the wellbeing of our families and staff."