Paedophile teacher, 55, who raped schoolgirl, 12, in a hotel before spending £500 on her in a toy shop is jailed for seven and a half years

A paedophile teacher has been jailed after raping 12-year-old schoolgirl in a hotel and spending £500 on her in a toy shop.

Simon Murch, from Sheffield, met his victim online after she told him she was aged 18, when in fact she was aged 12, a court heard.

The 55-year-old asked her to send explicit photos and they arranged to meet at The Tollgate Hotel in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Prosecutors say he would have known instantly that the girl was underage when he picked her up in his car a short distance from her home.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard she stayed in the car while he booked the room before they went inside and engaged in sexual activity. He then indulged her with £500 worth of toys at Smyths.

Murch was arrested after the girl reported his actions to another schoolteacher. He has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years with an extended licence period of one year.

Simon Murch was jailed for seven and a half years after he raped a schoolgirl at a hotel

Simon Murch was jailed for seven and a half years after he raped a schoolgirl at a hotel

Prosecutor Tim Harrington told the court the defendant contacted his victim on WhatsApp last year after their communication began on a website.

He said: ‘He asked if she wanted him to be her sugar daddy. She told him she was 18 and doing her A-levels. He asked her to send pictures of her private area. She sent videos of herself performing a sex act.

‘They arranged to meet in Stoke-on-Trent. He booked a room at The Tollgate Hotel. At that stage he may not have known her true age.’

Mr Harrington continued: ‘He asked if she was on the pill. He picked her up in his car a short distance from her house.

‘As soon as they met he would have known she was underage. He went in to book the room on his own. She stayed in the car. He did not want to cause alarm to anybody. It would have been plain to anybody she would have been underage. There is an element of significant planning.

‘They went into the hotel. He took off her clothes. They had full intercourse. After they had full sex he took her to Smyths toy shop where he spent £500 on her.’

The court heard the victim told a teacher that she had a sugar daddy. Her parents and the police were then informed.

Murch, of Parkside Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to rape of a child under 13.

Murch then proceeded to take his victim to Smyth's toy store, where he spent £500 on her

Murch then proceeded to take his victim to Smyth’s toy store, where he spent £500 on her

Alisdair Williamson KC, mitigating, said Murch’s mum had died shortly before his offending and his sister had taken her own life. Mr Williamson said: ‘He was in a state of emotional turmoil.’

He said the victim represented herself to be aged 18 at all times. Mr Williamson added: ‘She continued to represent herself as 18 after the hotel and he believed her to be 18.

‘When he went to the toy shop after with the victim he was told that was to buy presents for the victim’s younger sister.

‘It is devastating for the victim. It has ruined his life as well. He has learned a salutary lesson and will respond properly to the courses that may be available to him in custody.

‘His life is in ashes. He must rebuild himself. He apologises to the victim and her family, through me.’

Judge Graeme Smith said: ‘Because of problems in your relationship with your partner you began communicating with adult females over the internet, exchanging photos and images and meeting some for sex. One was this victim.

‘You asked if she wanted you to be her sugar daddy. You sent her money and you exchanged pornographic images with her.

‘It would have been plain when you met her that she was significantly younger than 18. You simply carried on. As a teacher you should have been alert to the risks. When you met her it was plain she was not an adult.’

Pictured: Stoke-on-Trent crown court

Pictured: Stoke-on-Trent crown court

Murch must serve two-thirds of the custodial sentence before he can be considered for release by the parole board. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and was made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Jordan Kirkland, from Staffordshire Police’s Child Protection and Exploitation Team (CPET), said: ‘I’d like to commend the survivor in this case and her family for their immense bravery in coming forward and telling us what Murch did.

‘We are committed to working with our partners to robustly target those engaged in child sexual abuse and supporting survivors as much as possible.

‘I want this case to serve as a reminder to anyone who may be a victim of sexual abuse, no matter how recent, that getting in touch with us is the first step to securing justice. Specialist officers can speak to you in confidence and stop those responsible.’

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