A paedophile primary school teacher who molested seven girls was jailed for more than 10 years today.
Pervert John Alway touched and sexually abused the girls – the youngest only nine – over a seven-year period when he worked as a supply teacher at four schools.
He targeted girls he knew would stay quiet and created opportunities to get them alone in his classroom, where he groped their bottoms.
Alway covered a window in his classroom to avoid detection before he sexually assaulted one vulnerable youngster, making her get naked before he lay on top of her.
She was saved when a knock at the locked classroom door disturbed him.
Alway, 60, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, escaped detection for almost a decade before he was brought to trial last summer over his abuse of three victims.
But the trial was dramatically halted after publicity saw a further five victims come forward.
This prompted a re-trial at Bristol Crown Court, where the father-of-two faced 23 charges of indecent or sexual assaults.
He was found guilty of 15 indecent assaults and one sexual assault after four weeks of evidence.
Judge Michael Longman said teachers held a position of trust – one which Alway flagrantly breached.
He said: “You repeatedly and persistently behaved in a flagrant breach of that trust by behaving indecently towards young girls who were at the time entrusted to your care.
“You did so in the course of your short teaching career, not only taking opportunities to touch girls inappropriately when the occasion arose but also creating opportunities to touch them inappropriately for your own sexual pleasure.”
Before sentencing him to a total of 10-and-a-half years in prison, Judge Longman said he could give Always little credit because he “chose to contest these allegations to the last”.
He banned him from working with children for life and gave him a sexual offences prevention order to protect potential future victims.
The married father-of-two was supported by his family throughout the trial.
Alway winked at his wife from the dock before the judge began summing up, and mouthed “I’m alright” to his son.
A number of his victims sat behind Alway’s family in the public gallery and burst into tears as the sentence was given, before hugging friends and family outside court.
Alway worked as a substitute teacher at three schools in Bristol and one in South Gloucestershire, where he taught geography, history, science, PE and RE.
He pleaded not guilty to 23 charges of indecent or sexual assaults against eight girls between 1997 and 2004, and the jury were directed to find him not guilty of one charge of attempted rape.
A jury of ten heard four weeks of evidence before they spent nearly 27 hours to reach a verdict.
He was found guilty of 15 counts of indecent assault and one sexual assault, and not guilty of two indecent assaults and five sexual assaults, against seven girls.
The judge awarded the police officer in the case – Detective Sergeant Nigel Curnock – a commendation and said the case had been “investigated with conspicuous diligence and fairness”.
Speaking after the verdicts, Detective Sergeant Curnock, of the public protection unit at Avon and Somerset Police said: “The verdicts returned by the jury today have removed the mask of respectability that John Alway was hiding behind for a number of years, and revealed him for what he is and that’s a predatory paedophile who has preyed upon defenceless young children for his own sexual gratification.
“Alway was placed in a position of trust in his role as a teacher.
“He was expected to help and nurture these young girls but instead he took advantage of them to carry out acts for his own sexual gratification.
“Always will be imprisoned. We hope this brings some comfort to the victims and their families.”