It's time to go away and start a new life

PUBLISHED: 11:42 01 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:01 04 May 2010

Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis

DISGRACED Haddenham teacher Gary Lewis, who sent graphic sexual images to a child for a laugh , plans to move out of the area to start a new life. He was speaking exclusively to the Ely Standard after a judge gave him a three-year community order, banned

DISGRACED Haddenham teacher Gary Lewis, who sent graphic sexual images to a child "for a laugh", plans to move out of the area to start a new life.

He was speaking exclusively to the Ely Standard after a judge gave him a three-year community order, banned him from working with anyone under the age of 16, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders' register for five years.

Lewis, 33, spoke of his relief of being spared prison and claimed being banned from teaching was punishment enough.

"It's about looking to put all this behind me, but I'm not running away from what I did," he said.

"I am not a stupid person but I did do a stupid thing. If you've refereed for more than 20 years and taught in an area for 11, chances are a lot of people know you.

"It's time to move on and make this into something positive.

"This whole thing has renewed my relationship with family and close friends. My sister is due to give birth in December and I wouldn't have wanted my niece to be born when I was in a prison cell."

When he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court, the former Swavesey, Comberton and Sawston Village College teacher, of Lester Drive, Haddenham admitted sending two sexually explicit images to a 14-year-old pupil by e-mail.

He claims he decided to admit his crimes to save the boy the ordeal of having to give evidence by video link at a court trial.

Lewis admitted being close to students and feeling remorse for what he had done.

He said: "I didn't want those who I was close to having to go through a long, involved court case. I genuinely feel remorse for what I have done.

"I didn't have a life away from school. Teaching was my life, perhaps at the expense of relationships outside of it.

"As the judge said, stopping me from teaching seemed like punishment enough."

Janet Macleod, a former colleague of Lewis' at Sawston confirmed that Lewis was a popular and hard-working teacher.

"It just seems such a shame," she said.

Lewis plans to referee adult football matches but at a lower level than previously.

He was qualified to referee league matches from 2004 until his resignation earlier this year and was chairman of Cambridge and District Referees Association.

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