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Former headteacher and Bourne Town Juniors football coach has been found guilty of sending sexual messages to a 14 year old 'boy'

A former Lincolnshire primary school headteacher caught sexting and arranging to meet someone he thought was a 14 year old boy was today (Friday, May 14) found guilty by a jury at Lincoln Crown Court.

James Shawley, who was headteacher at St Bartholomew's Primary School at West Pinchbeck, near Spalding, until his arrest in December 2019, was caught in a sting operation when he contacted an undercover police officer posing as a 14 year old.

During the three day trial the jury was told that Shawley sent sexually explicit messages to the "boy" before arranging to meet him at a cinema in Huntingdon with the intention of having sex with him.

Lincoln Crown Court (44604474)
Lincoln Crown Court (44604474)

James Shawley told the jury that he clicked on the "boy's" profile on a dating site thinking it was someone over 18.

He admitted that during chat the "boy" said that he was 14.

Shawley said "I thought he was an adult pretending to be younger. I didn't believe he was 14. I didn't believe anybody of 14 on an adult app would declare their age so soon in the conversation.

"I thought it was a wind-up.

"I thought the person was 18 or 19."

Shawley, who had been a teacher for 22 years and was a qualified FA coach working with Spalding Under 11s, will be sentenced later today. He had previously coached Bourne Town Juniors from under 9s to under 16s.

Shawley, 45, formerly of Hereward Street, Bourne, and now living in Sheffield, denied two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and further charges of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child and attempting to facilitate or arrange a child sex offence. The charges related to dates between December 8 and 23, 2019.

The jury deliberated for just over 90 minutes before returning guilty verdicts on each charge.

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