A former headteacher has been found guilty of sexual offences against four girls, with a judge expressing concern that warnings about him were ignored.

Neil Foden, 66, who worked in schools in north Wales, was convicted of 19 offences and told he faces a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced in July.

The jury at Mold crown court heard that Foden, who was previously an executive member for the National Education Union, abused four complainants over a four-year period.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said Foden had been a “powerful figure” who thought he could do just as he liked. He told him: “Some of the explanations for your behaviour towards the victims proffered by you during the course of the trial at times frankly beggared belief”, adding that they were a sign of his “arrogant controlling personality”.

Concerns about Foden were raised with Cyngor Gwynedd – Gwynedd council – by a senior member of staff in 2019 but he was not stopped from offending until 2023. The judge said: “When real concerns were first raised about the defendant with the county council they were simply dismissed, pretty much out of hand.”

He said no investigation was carried out and no notes were taken. “We now know he continued to offend,” said the judge. “That’s very concerning indeed.”

A spokesperson for the council said it was “appalled by the nature of the crimes”. “Now that the criminal process has concluded, the task of reviewing work practices and establishing what lessons can be learnt will begin,” they said. “Due to the serious nature of the case, arrangements are being made to carry out an independent review in accordance with national child practice review guidelines.”

Foden was arrested after one of the girls, child A, showed an adult a photo of them together and screenshots of messages about oral sex. She told police: “He would say he loved me. After a while it got a bit more sexual.”

Another complainant, child E, told police she referred to Foden as Mr P, for perfect, while he called her “his little sex toy”.

Foden was accused of pinching the thigh of child B and putting his hand under her clothing. Child C alleged he had placed his hand at the top of her inner thighs.

Asked during the trial about a message he sent to child A in which he said he felt “slightly horny”, he said the message was meant to be “complimentary” and make the girl “feel attractive”.

Foden, of Old Colwyn, north Wales, was convicted of 12 counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust, and one count each of causing or inciting child sexual activity, attempting to arrange the commission of a child sexual offence, sexual communication with a child, possession of indecent photographs of a child and sexual assault of a child.

He was remanded in custody ahead of a sentencing hearing on 1 July.

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