House master is jailed after admitting using hidden cameras to take indecent pictures of more than 130 children at £33,000-a-year Clifton College private school
- Jonathan Thomson-Glover filmed more than 130 victims over 16 years
- Teacher hid cameras at Clifton College in Bristol and at a Cornish house
- Police found 300 VHS tapes containing 2,500 hours of secret footage
- Victims never knew they were abused and reacted with fury and despair
- Thomson-Glover was jailed for three years and nine months for sex crimes
Jailed: Jonathan Thomson-Glover, 53, was a house master at the prestigious £33,000-a-year Clifton College in Bristol where many of his voyeuristic films of pupils were made.
To his admirers, Jonathan Thomson-Glover was a real-life ‘Mr Chips’ – a teacher who devoted his life to pupils at a prestigious public school.
Parents regarded him as a ‘consummate professional’, while to pupils he was a ‘friend’ who allowed them to smoke, drink and have sex on school premises.
But in reality he was a pervert who for 16 years recorded the most intimate moments of children in his charge using secret cameras for his own sexual gratification.
A court heard yesterday how the housemaster used the holidays to fix cameras into the walls – linking them to video recorders back in his private quarters at £33,000-a-year Clifton College in Bristol.
Other recordings were made on a camcorder placed inside a bag with a hole cut in it and carried around a shower room, Taunton Crown Court was told.
In total, detectives found 2,500 hours of video footage on 330 tapes and included images of at least 130 pupils, both boys and girls.
The German teacher also downloaded thousands of indecent images of children from the internet.
Yesterday Thomson-Glover, 53, was jailed for three years and nine months after admitting 36 offences of taking, making and possessing indecent images of children.
Passing sentence, Judge David Ticehurst told him his life was ‘reduced to rubble’ because of his ‘fatal flaw’.
‘You are the author of your own misfortune and there can be little sympathy for you,’ he added.
The son of the college’s vicar, Thomson-Glover joined the school as a pupil aged six and returned as a teacher in 1990.
He was highly regarded by parents, one of whom compared him to the character from the book Goodbye Mr Chips, about a beloved boarding school teacher.
‘He was absolutely charming. He was Mr Chips, he lived and breathed the college,’ said the parent.
Prosecutor Howard Phillips said: ‘To parents and other adults he came across as the perfect housemaster, professional and caring, an excellent teacher who went the extra mile for his pupils.’
Secret shot: This is an image of a shower inside Clifton School he filmed using his secret network of cameras
But his image was shattered when the National Crime Agency discovered his computer was being used to download inappropriate images and police found he had set up cameras in ten locations at his quarters and a flat he owned in Cornwall.
Mr Phillips said he had used his position to ‘film the pupils under his care in states of undress and committing sexual acts’.
Most footage was shot in his bathroom in Cornwall, along with bedrooms, study rooms and showers at a school house for day pupils.
The court heard the teacher made his bedroom ‘available to male and female students for sexual intercourse’.
After they were gone he would return and would get pleasure from sniffing the bedclothes, Taunton Crown Court heard.
Thomson-Glover was arrested in August last year and told police the filming was ‘addictive’ and fuelled by the internet.
For many years he took pupils on trips to Cornwall, but one former pupil recalled how the breaks involved ‘running naked across the golf course and smoking cannabis’.
Mr Phillips said when pupils and their families were told the ‘overwhelming sentiment was a feeling of betrayal’ by a man they had ‘looked up to, respected and befriended’.
Andrew Langdon QC, defending, said his client apologised ‘for his litany of wrongs’.
Deceit: He also filmed people going to the toilet over a 16 year campaign of abuse in Bristol, pictured, and at a home in Cornwall
A statement by one female victim read in court said she now realised the teacher had filmed her with her first boyfriend.
She said: ‘He wanted to film us doing these intimate things that you would hope no one else – particularly someone you trusted and looked up to – was watching.’
A parent said their son’s innocence had been ‘violated’.
Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon from Devon and Cornwall Police said they have had to tell 130 people they identified in films that they were secretly watched, which caused ‘extreme anger’ and ‘bitter disappointment’.
She added: ‘The way he’s behaved is abhorrent it’s a massive breach of trust, an invasion of privacy… and when you imagine the position he’s in in relation to his victims he’s captured them doing the most private of acts.
‘It’s clear he has been prolific in his criminal activity and has demonstrated a meticulous approach in his planning and cataloguing processes.
‘Although the footage was recorded onto VHS tapes, there is a clear suggestion he may have used pinhole or spy cameras during the later stages of his offending.
‘He’s proved himself to be a manipulative and devious sexual offender who had the ability to keep his compulsion a secret from everyone around him.
‘When we had to approach these victims, it’s something that’s come out the blue and they’ve acted in a variety of ways from extreme anger to bitter disappointment.’
Cache: After his arrest police found a cache of more than 300 VHS tapes containing 2,500 hours of secret footage
Thomson-Glover, of Wadebridge, Cornwall, had claimed he was a technological novice but in fact had set up a complex network of cameras and recorders for his own pleasure.
He pleaded guilty to 36 counts of making, taking and possessing indecent images of children and was jailed for three years and nine months by Judge David Ticehurst at Taunton Crown Court today.
Thomson-Glover admitted 27 charges of taking an indecent image of a child; seven charges of making an indecent image of a child and two charges of possessing indecent images of children.
He was charged following a joint investigation between Avon and Somerset Police and Devon and Cornwall Police.
He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely and banned from working with children on his release.
The teacher was arrested in August last year and resigned from his post citing ‘personal reasons’.
The court heard Thomson-Glover first became part of the school at the age of six, as his father was working as a pastor there. He returned to teach at the school and was well regarded.
Prosecuting, Mr Phillips said: ‘He was a man who had a relaxed attitude and allowed his pupils to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and engage in sexual relations on the school premises.
‘The parents regarded him as the consummate professional, he appeared very caring, achieved good exam results and went above and beyond. But the reality was somewhat different.’
Thomson-Glover was arrested in August 2014 after the National Crime Agency discovered his IP address had been used to download indecent images of children.
Officers seized four computers, discs and a number of Hi-8 camcorder tapes, with 330 VHS video tapes from three address they searched.
Police discovered that he had been downloading thousands of indecent images of children, using search terms such as ‘pre-teen boys’.
Anger: Victims have only found out years later that they were filmed in the bathroom doing private things
Representing Thomson-Glover Mr Langdon said the footage was never shared and the majority of it was never watched, with pupils filmed engaging in sexual acts aged 16 or 17 at the time.
‘He had repressed feelings of homosexuality as a teenager. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s attitudes to homosexuals then were quite different.’
Mr Langdon said his client had been in relationships with women but this drove him to breakdowns and to attempt suicide.
He later joined the school as a teacher and installed the hidden cameras after viewing images online.
‘It led to a schizophrenic existence,’ Mr Langdon said. ‘On one hand he was successful. On the other hand, he had a secret addiction.
‘It is too simplistic to say that the good he has done was merely in aid of facilitating the bad.’
Some parents whose children were filmed wrote letters to the judge on Thomson-Glover’s behalf, after meeting him following his arrest.
‘I met a man who was deeply sorry and contrite,’ one mother wrote.
The court heard Thomson-Glover’s mother has suffered two strokes since his arrest, while his father has also become unwell.
‘He never intended suffering by others,’ Mr Langdon added.
Thomson-Glover taught German at the prestigious £30,000-a-year Clifton College – where past pupils include John Cleese and First World War military leader Field Marshal Douglas Haig – for 31 years
Speaking outside court Howard Phillips, senior crown prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Jonathan Thomson-Glover is an educated and intelligent man who exploited and manipulated his position for his own sexual gratification.
‘He must have known he had paedophile tendencies when he accepted his appointment and he began his offending within a year of taking up his position.
‘This case is unique due to the timespan of offences, the high number of victims and the gross breach of trust and invasion of privacy.
‘I’d like to thank the victims in this case and their families for their ongoing support with the overall investigation and court proceedings.
‘I hope the sentence passed today will bring some measure of closure to them and will act as a deterrent to others minded to act in a similar way.’
Clifton College, founded in 1862, is one of the UK’s top independent schools and former pupils include John Cleese and TV sports host John Inverdale.
Clifton is a co-educational independent school founded in 1862 and has around 720 pupils, a third of them girls.
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