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Andrew Cook was handed down a custodial sentence of six years imprisonment following his guilty pleas in relation to 37 sexual offences against teenage boys. Posing as a 16 year old girl, Anne Jones, he persuaded boys to be naked on camera, making “pic for pic” requests.
Andrew Cook, age 30, from Newberry, Berkshire, worked at Hampton School, Hanworth, South West London, as a Rowing Coach. He was dismissed after an investigation following an alert being raised in the Spring term 2018.
The assaults began in June or September 2011 and continued until February 2018. Cook persuaded boys to be naked on camera, making “pic for pic” requests. He tricked young boys into sending him nude photos. Cook posed as a 16 year old girl, Anne Jones. He communicated with the boys via Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Messenger. Cook sent nude photos and masturbation videos, pretending to be Anne and successfully encouraged boys to send similar footage of themselves in return. Victims described Cook as "forward" and "persistent" in encouraging them to engage in "sexting" and "picture swaps."
The assaults involved 32 children aged between 13 and 17
The Police Investigation
The police investigation began in April 2018 following an alert by the school.
The charges against Andrew Cook and the Sentence
Andrew Cook was charged with:
- 27 counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence,
- a count of engaging in sexual communication with a child,
- a count of causing a child to view sexual activity,
- four counts of inciting a boy to engage in sexual activity,
- a count of distributing an indecent image of a child and
- three counts of possession of indecent images of children.
He pleaded guilty to 37 charges.
He denied charges relevant to 3 further boys which were not tried and will remain on file.
Andrew Cook pleaded guilty to the offences on the 5 May 202 and was sentenced on Friday 5 June 2020 at Guildford Crown Court. He was handed down a custodial of 6 years.
In addition to the custodial sentence, the rowing coach was banned from working with children and will be placed on the sexual offenders register.
Sentencing Remarks of the Judge
Judge Alexia Durran said, “You were in a position of trust to many of the teenage victims.
They said you were someone they trusted, someone who helped them when they were bullied, someone who had betrayed their trust. Some feel it has impacted their academic studies”.
"The total sentence within this case is one of 72 months imprisonments or six years.
"You will serve up to one half of that sentence in custody and then you will be released."
Statement by Hampton School
Their spokesman said, “We have been deeply saddened by this matter, which runs completely counter to the values of our school.
The welfare of our pupils is always our highest priority. As soon as we became aware of concerns in Spring term 2018, we immediately informed all relevant authorities.
Mr Cook was suspended from the school and subsequently dismissed with immediate effect following an internal disciplinary investigation.
Since then we have worked closely with Surrey police and partner agencies to assist with their ongoing enquiries and provide all possible support, both to them and to the victims.
We are grateful to all those who have helped bring this matter to justice, not least of course those whose courage in coming forward provided invaluable assistance to the investigation.
We express our deep regret to those affected and offer our continued support”.
Statement by the Police
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Martin Goodwin said: “I commend the bravery of the victims who came forward and have supported this lengthy investigation resulting in a predatory offender pleading guilty to multiple offences.
"Online offenders go to great lengths to hide their damaging behaviours and avoid detection and Cook was no exception, but the intuition of victims along with robust safeguarding procedures at the school where he worked led to his identification and arrest.
"My team has worked with expertise and diligence, and in working collaboratively with the school, as well as partner agencies including the local children’s services provider, Achieving for Children, this has assisted us in preventing him from offending further and ensured that all victims were supported.
"While social media has many positives, it’s a reminder not to trust people you don’t know and treat any conversation you have online as you would with someone in the street.”
Apology by Andrew Cook
Upon sentencing, Cook stood in the dock and said: "I would like to apologise to the court although I understand I must never contact them directly. I was immature in taking the actions I did."
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We understand it is not easy to talk about what has happened to you, or what has happened to your child. We will certainly not ask you for details of the sexual assault, but ask a limited number of questions so that we may understand the broad background to what has happened. Such limited information will be sufficient for us to provide you with an immediate advice as to whether we are able to assist you, to bring claim for compensation on behalf of your son or daughter, or on behalf for yourself, if the assaults occurred many years ago.