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Human rights organisation welcomes Harris sentence

International Justice Mission, the human rights organisation which helped bring Simon Harris to justice, has praised both British and Kenyan police, after the ex-teacher from Herefordshire was sentenced to 17 years and four months for the abuse of Kenyan street children.

The organisation said the case showed that international borders should present no barrier to the prosecution of paedophiles like Harris.

Hannah Flint told ITV News the charity is "delighted" that many more children are protected from ever coming across Simon Harris.

Meanwhile Kelvin Lay, from the National Crime Agency, said the length of his sentence "reflects the crimes that Simon Harris has committed".

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Report: The background to the trial of Simon Harris

A former teacher from Herefordshire has been sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison after being found guilty of abusing young boys in Kenya.

Simon Harris has been jailed for 17 years for abusing vulnerable Kenyan children Credit: West Mercia Police

In December, 55-year-old Simon Harris, from Pudleston near Leominster, was convicted of indecent and sexual assault on youngsters, and possessing indecent images of children.

Jailing Harris, the judge told the University of Southampton classics graduate he would serve half his sentence on licence and also handed him a life-long sexual offences prevention order.

Nancy Cole reports on the background to the case:

Ex-teacher abused 'amongst the most vulnerable'

A judge who today sentenced a former teacher from Herefordshire to 17 years and four months in jail for the abuse of Kenyan street children, said he had abused "amongst the most vulnerable in the world."

Simon Harris has been jailed for 17 years for abusing vulnerable Kenyan children Credit: ITV News Central

Before his trial last year, Simon Harris admitted six counts of indecently assaulting three boys at a college in Devon, where he had been a housemaster in the 1980s.

Judge Parker said Harris, who later moved to Kenya, had continued his sexual offending against boys, and this time against street children whom he said "were amongst the most vulnerable in the world".

"You assumed a hallowed position among the locals," said the judge.

"You were revered as someone who could provide the gift of education.

"You were answerable to no-one - and once again you had access to boys."

Simon Harris' home in Kenya where the abuse took place Credit: ITV News Central

The judge added that Harris's charity work in education meant "no-one batted an eyelid" when he washed boys, and allowed youngsters to sleep in his bedroom at the remote home he owned on the outskirts of the town of Gilgil.

"You walked on water. But none of them knew you had a sexual motive."

Predatory teacher gets 17-year jail term for abuse

Simon Harris has been jailed for 17 years for abusing vulnerable Kenyan children Credit: West Mercia Police

A former public school teacher described as a prolific and calculating sexual predator has been jailed for 17 years and four months after abusing vulnerable young Kenyan street children.

Charity boss Simon Harris lured boys using food, money and the promise of schooling to his luxury home in the East African country where the abuse took place between 2002 and May 2013.

Simon Harris lured boys to his luxury home in the East African country between 2002 and May 2013 Credit: ITV News Central

Harris, 55, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was convicted after trial last year of three indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, with one victim thought to be as young as nine.

He was also found guilty of four charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Simon Harris was from Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire Credit: ITV News Central
  1. National

Ex-teacher jailed for 17 years four months over Kenya abuse

Former public school teacher and charity boss Simon Harris has been jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for 17 years and four months after abusing vulnerable Kenyan street children.

Harris lured boys using food, money and the promise of schooling to his luxury home in the East African country where the abuse took place between 2002 and May 2013.

Former public school teacher and charity boss Simon Harris has been jailed. Credit: West Mercia Police/PA Wire

Harris, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was convicted of three indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, with one victim thought to be as young as nine.

The 55 year old was also found guilty of four charges of possessing indecent images of children.

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HMIC release report into West Mercia Police's child protection work

West Mercia Police Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

An inspection into West Mercia Police's child protection work has criticised the force's 'weak' responses to child sexual exploitation.

In a report published this morning, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary praised officers' rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders, but said complex investigations were often poorly planned.

The watchdog carried out the inspection in November last year as part of a rolling programme of reports into police forces in England and Wales.

HMIC inspected West Mercia Police's child protection work Credit: PA

In a summary of their findings, inspectors said that they were impressed by:

  • The force's 'clear commitment' to improving services for vulnerable people and children.
  • Quick response times to allegations about child abuse.
  • The sensitivity and skill shown by the specialist teams who question very young children, or children with learning difficulties.
  • The force's rigorous supervision of registered sex offenders.

Inspectors were concerned to find:

  • Investigations were poorly planned or insufficiently thorough in difficult or complex cases.
  • Recognising and responding to child sexual exploitation was weak.
  • Too many children were being unnecessarily held in police custody overnight.
  • In cases that were allocated to non-specialist teams, enquiries and investigations were undertaken by insufficiently skilled and knowledgeable staff.
Drusilla Sharpling Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

“West Mercia Police is clearly committed to improving child protection services and has invested in new structures, specialist teams and resources to improve the timeliness of investigations.”

“Despite this commitment, West Mercia Police needs to improve in a number of areas. We found that the initial response to child protection issues was sometimes slow, and that investigations were not always of the highest quality. We also found that there were significant delays in some investigations, which can have a negative impact on the child. The force also needs to make sure staff who undertake child protection work are sufficiently skilled.

“I encourage West Mercia Police to act on our recommendations as a matter of urgency, and have asked that within six weeks it provides us with an action plan to demonstrate how it will take forward these recommendations.”

– HM Inspector of Constabulary Drusilla Sharpling

Visitors banned at Herefordshire hospitals after Norovirus outbreak

Visitors have been told to stay away from hospitals in Herefordshire in order to stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus.

The virus spreads quickly in environments such as hospitals, schools and care homes Credit: ITV News Central

Wards have been closed and operations cancelled. The Wye Valley NHS Trust says half of beds are being used by patients infected with Norovirus.

The Trust says staff dealt with 20 per cent more patients than usual over the weekend.

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