Northumberland primary school teacher and partner jailed for sickening child sex offences

A primary school teacher and her perverted partner were branded ‘monsters’ as they were each jailed for a string of sex abuse offences.

To the outside world, Zoe Williams was a picture of respectability, working at a school. But beneath the facade lurked a deviant who was only too happy to go join in with the sickening behaviour of boyfriend, Thomas Surtees while both were fuelled by drink and drugs.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the vile behaviour came to light when Surtees was arrested for unrelated offending after a number of teenagers complained he had sexually assaulted them. Checks of his phone revealed he had been engaging in far more sinister behaviour with Williams and a young child, with some of the abuse discovered on their phones.

One of the videos on Williams’ phone showed Surtees abusing a child and the court heard the recording was made by Williams. Further clips showed Williams abusing the child.

When sent a further still sexual image of him and the child, Williams responded saying he should have carried out even more serious abuse.

Zoe Williams, jailed for child sex offences

The victim’s mother said in a victim impact statement which she read to the court she initially thought the allegations couldn’t be true because of Williams being a primary school teacher. She added: “I thought not in a million years this could be happening.

“I’ve had to listen to the details of what those two monsters have done. It makes me feel sick to the stomach.

“I can’t get my head around it all. It’s one big nightmare, like something you hear on the news but never dream you will be involved in.” She branded the abuse “disgusting” and said she worries how it will affect the victim in years to come.

“Never in a million years could I forgive either of you. What you have done is unforgivable and no matter what sentence you receive, we are the ones that are truly being punished.

“I don’t think they are remorseful for their actions, I think they are more just sorry they have been caught.

Indecent images of other children were also found on Surtees’ phone. This included one of a toddler.

Thomas Surtees, jailed for child sex offences
Thomas Surtees, jailed for child sex offences

Surtees, 37, of Bellshill Close, Wallsend, who once wanted to be a police officer and then became a business analyst, has six previous convictions but nothing for any sexual offences. He admitted ten sexual assaults, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, sexual communication with a child, three offences of making indecent images of a child and one of taking an indecent image of a child.

Williams, 30, of The Gables, Widdrington, Northumberland, who has no previous convictions, admitted two sexual assaults of a child under 13, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and three counts of making indecent images of children.

Surtees was jailed 15 years with an extended licence period of a further five years while Williams got ten years with an extended licence period of a further five years. They will each also have to sign the sex offenders register for life and be subject to lifelong sexual harm prevention orders.

Judge Julie Clemitson said Williams had, at times, used her position as a teacher to ‘titillate’ Surtees.

The judge added: “While you, Miss Williams, may have been drawn into this by Mr Surtees, with whom you were besotted, it’s clear you embraced it wholeheartedly and even encouraged him.

“You didn’t just turn a blind eye to the abuse, you physically joined in and abused her too and created images of that abuse. It’s clear you, Miss Williams, knowing what you knew about Mr Surtees and wanting to continue your relationship with him, you did whatever you thought it would take.

“Being prepared to do it anyway is no less serious than someone who acts on their own sexual urges.”

Jeremy Barton, for Surtees, said: “He is remorseful for the dreadful things he has done and which he has pleaded guilty to. While in prison he has taken some strong steps towards ridding himself of an addiction and use of drugs.”

Lorraine Mustard, for Williams, said: “There was an imbalance in the relationship. Colleagues had warned her Surtees appeared to be bad news.” She added that she “wanted to curry favour with him” and said: “Her personal characteristics were susceptible to responding to requests from her co-accused.

“There’s a high level of vulnerability due to emotional and psychological difficulties. She reports having no sexual interest in children. She has shown remorse from the beginning.”

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