Worthing sex offender jailed

A SEX pervert who hid the fact he was mixing with children at a Worthing theatre group has been jailed for six months.

Former school teacher Nigel Jackson, 53, of Western Place, Worthing, pleaded guilty to breaching his sexual offences prevention order after it was revealed he had joined the Worthing Light Opera Company, bringing him into close contact with youngsters.

Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard how five committee members in the company knew about his previous convictions, which included downloading indecent images of children and grooming and abusing a 14-year-old girl in Northern Ireland.

The court also heard how despite meeting with probation officers 34 times and asked directly if he had joined any groups, he failed to mention his involvement with the company.

Manipulative

Prosecutor Rachel Baker said Jackson’s method of integrating himself with others was to “come across as a very amiable person”, something he appeared to be very successful at doing.

In a letter from one committee member, it said Jackson had posed “no threat and caused us no concerns”, describing him as “well-mannered and educated”.

However, probation staff described Jackson, who previously taught at Durrington High School and was deputy head at Seaford Head Community College in East Sussex, as displaying “impulsive behaviour” and who “manipulates staff”.

Jackson joined the Worthing Light Opera Company in November, 2009, and unsuccessfully auditioned for Bad Girls.

Exaggerated

In February last year his past was revealed and he resigned.

Yet months later he became the company’s treasurer and then stage manager, bringing him in close contact with young girls.

Andrew Wagstaff, representing Jackson, said opera was Jackson’s passion.

He described the probation reports as “exaggerated” and said Jackson had “no direct contact with the girls”.

“Every child under 16 is chaperoned. They have separate changing rooms,” he said. “This is a situation where he had told five members on the committee of this company about his previous convictions.”

Chair of the bench, John Hill, described the breach as “serious” and sentenced him to six months imprisonment.