Science teacher abused 15-year-old pupil then wrote to her 17 years later begging her not to help police convict him

25 September 2023, 21:20

Langford has been jailed for nine years
Langford has been jailed for nine years. Picture: NCA

By Will Taylor

A science teacher who sexually abused a pupil then later wrote to her begging her not to give police "accidental ammunition" to use against him has been jailed.

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Mark Langford, 55, was caught with thousands of indecent images of children.

He would talk online about child rape or encourage others to sexually abuse youngsters.

He was arrested after Google reported a user storing abuse on their platform and Britain's National Crime Agency managed to identify him.

It was later found he had groomed and sexually abused a 15-year-old pupil during his time at a school in Lowestoft between 2004 and 2006.

"It's all in there, I know what you're looking for, I've made a mistake and ruined everything," he told officers as he was arrested at his home in Beccles, Suffolk.

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Detectives even found a letter he wrote to his victim in April 2022, 17 years after he abused her, in which he discussed what to do if she was questioned.

"Before you talk to him, please remember that it is his job to convict me – please do not give him any accidental ammunition against me," he wrote.

"You can tell him you know I'm a porn addict, and that I was arrested for having indecent images of children.

"Don't forget the 'arrested for' bit – don't say I did it, or that I confessed to you, because that might drag you into court as a witness. I don't know if it will, but that's not a question I dare ask him."

A search of five devices found 2,718 indecent images of children in categories A to C - A being the worst - and another 199 prohibited images and 109 extreme images were also discovered.

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Officers found Langford used a cloud platform to swap child sexual abuse material and spoke about child rape, sexual abuse of children and the levels of humiliation and pain that needed to be inflicted against women and children to satisfy him.

Langford, who taught at secondary schools in Suffolk and Norfolk from 1996 until his arrest, pleaded guilty to indecent assault, indecency with a child, perverting the cause of justice, indecent images of children offences and possession of extreme pornographic images in July.

He was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison on Monday, and given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

Langford was sacked from his job at a free schools trust in Suffolk in January last year.

His victim said: "His manipulation, deceit and devious nature unnerves me as he is not the man he presented himself as for many years.

"What Mark needs to grasp is that I am thoroughly appalled and disgusted by his actions and haunted by the abuse I suffered at his hands... He disgusts me to the core and I am haunted by nightmares of the confessions he told me.

"I still feel I am carrying around his filthy secret that he expected me to keep for him. This repulses me that he thought I would prevent the course of justice...

"I am appalled, insulted and disgusted by everything he has told me and these confessions will stay with me for a long time. He has not only abused my body but my mind too."

NCA Operations Manager Holly Triggs said: "Mark Langford was a cowardly and scheming offender.

"Not only did he abuse his position of trust, he asked his victim to stay quiet about his offending and the horrific conversations he had with other paedophiles online."