Sunderland headteacher GUILTY of indecent assaults on schoolboys

Anne Lakey at Teesside Crown Court.
Anne Lakey at Teesside Crown Court.
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A nationally-acclaimed headteacher is facing jail after being convicted of having underage sex with two teenage boys in the 1980s.

Anne Lakey - who was a history and RE teacher in Sunderland at the time of the allegations - is due to be sentenced on Wednesday after being found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assault on a boy of 13 or 14 and another boy aged 15 following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The 55-year-old has been suspended from her role as chief executive of the Durham Federation, in charge of two secondary schools, since the younger complainant sent an accusing email as an adult.

She was a national leader in education, lauded for improving the exam performance at her schools, but her respectable professional persona hid a sordid past.

She seduced one lad in his school uniform when he was aged 13 or 14 after letting him watch her bathe, then encouraged another boy aged 15 to sneak into her tent during a camp and she took his virginity too.

Lakey, who has been married three times, denied all the allegations but admitted having a sexual relationship with the older complainant when he was an adult and she was in her 30s.

The younger complainant branded her a “disgusting sexual monster” in an email to her school which sparked her suspension and the police investigation.

He claimed she took his virginity and told police they repeatedly had sex at her home in the marital bed.

When the police began investigating the younger complainant’s accusing email, Lakey rang him out of the blue to persuade him to lie to detectives.

Lakey was tried last year at Durham Crown Court charged in connection with this younger man’s allegations, and a jury was eventually discharged after failing to reach verdicts. A retrial was ordered and the older man’s allegations were added to the indictment, with this hearing taking place at Teesside Crown Court.

As the majority verdicts were given on the 13 charges Lakey became emotional and stared towards her family as she gripped the dock with both hands.The jury took three days to reach their decision after being sent out on Friday.

Judge Howard Crowson said the type of sentence he would hand down was inevitable but as an act of mercy he would allow her bail until sentencing tomorrow. “I have never given bail to someone at this stage before but I’m only doing it because of your father,” he said.

Police reaction

Det Insp Aelf Sampson, of Durham Police, said: “This case involved two male victims who reported being the victims of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

“They both have a clear memory of what happened to them when they were children, corroborated by friends who they told at the time and over later years.

“These men were children at the time, and became vulnerable victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a woman who had some power and responsibility for them.

“She was someone who was respected and seen as successful by the community. These boys should have been safe in her company, instead of being damaged by their experience.

“Regardless of whether these boys appear to have been willing participants in the offences, they could not consent by law to what happened. The law is there to protect victims.

“Durham Constabulary will continue to support these victims with our partner agencies, as we do for all victims of recent or non-recent sexual abuse.

“The guilty verdict today supports this approach from within the wider criminal justice system and I urge other victims of sexual abuse to report their crimes to the police so the appropriate action can be taken and support offered.”