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Headteacher who abused position of trust and targeted children jailed for 17 years

Source: North Wales Police published on this website Tuesday 2 July 2024 by Jill Powell

A predatory headteacher who sexually assaulted children has been jailed for 17 years.

Neil Frederick Foden, of Gwynant, Old Colwyn, who was head of Ysgol Friars at the time of the offences, appeared at Mold Crown Court today, Monday July 1st.

The 66-year-old was convicted of 19 charges relating to four victims, including 12 counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust, causing or inciting child sexual activity, attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, sexual communication with a child, possession of indecent photographs of a child and sexual assault of a child.

An investigation into Foden was launched on September 6th 2023, following a report that he was in a relationship with a child.

The child, known for legal reasons as Child A, showed an adult an image of Foden on her phone and screenshots of conversations between them, which happened over a period of around six months.

He encouraged Child A to hug and kiss him, telling her she must ‘take it to the grave and not tell anyone’.

They began to WhatsApp each other, with Foden telling the girl to delete the messages daily.

The messaging and contact soon became sexualised, with Foden sexually assaulting her several times, persisting even when she tried to stop him.

Police attended his place of work on the afternoon of September 6th and arrested him.

He was charged two days later, on September 8th, on suspicion of sexual offences and remanded into custody.

Following his arrest, further victims bravely came forward with more information about incidents that happened between 2019 and 2023.

During each incident that took place, he preyed on the vulnerable victims by repeatedly hugging and touching them.

Another child, known as Child E, began a relationship with Neil Foden where they met daily and messaged each other over Whatsapp. He told Child E that he loved her and that they should keep the relationship secret. He sexually assaulted her many times in his car and also in hotels when she accompanied him on trips away overnight.

On another occasion, Foden was alone with Child B when he grabbed her by the neck and placed his hand at the top of her inner thigh close to her genitals.

Once again, Child C was alone with Foden when he put his hand on her leg and pinched her thigh. He hugged her when she was upset but then put his hand under her clothes.

Today, Foden was sentenced to 17 years in prison and must serve two thirds of the sentence before he is considered for release.

The judge also imposed a sexual harm prevention order for life and a ten-year restraining order prohibiting him from contacting his victims.

He is also barred from teaching indefinitely.

Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Evans said: “North Wales Police welcome today’s sentence which reflects the appalling nature of Neil Foden’s crimes.

“We share the shock and revulsion of our communities towards his actions.

“As a headteacher, he was there to safeguard young people, to look after them and to develop them for a brighter future. Instead, he abused his position for his own sexual gratification.

“I can’t overstate the impact that this has had on our communities, and particularly on young people in the area.

“I want to thank the victims that came forward in this case. Their courage and strength in going through the ordeal of the trial is to be admired by everyone.

“I have no doubt that their actions have saved future generations from being victims at the hands of Neil Foden.

“I encourage anyone who has suffered sexual violence in the past to come forward. We are here to listen. We are here to support you. We will do our best for you.”

Senior investigating Officer for the case, Detective Chief Inspector Sophie Chance said: “Neil Foden carried out a targeted and predatory campaign against vulnerable children.

“I would like to recognise the work of those in my investigation team and our CPS partners who have worked tirelessly to pursue this case and ensure he has been brought to justice.

“I extend my thanks to colleagues from the SARC who were instrumental in supporting the victims, without who the offending of Neil Foden would not have come to light.”

If you have suffered sexual abuse, please seek support. No one should suffer in silence. We will take your report seriously and fully investigate.