A FORMER North-East teacher has fled a Scottish town after it emerged he was a serial paedophile who once complained to The Northern Echo children were over-protected.
Parents in Barrhead, near Glasgow, were shocked to learn from a local newspaper that Simeon Hope had been jailed three times for possessing indecent images of children.
Residents launched an on-line campaign to have him removed from his council house.
And last Thursday he was seen loading up a car of possessions and driving away.
A former Green Party candidate, Hope, was jailed for 18 months in 2000 after he downloaded and stored thousands of indecent images of youngsters on his computer at his former home in Willington, County Durham.
Hope had been on a short-term contract at Willington High School, North Tyneside, however the contract was not renewed after his conviction.
He then moved to Derbyshire where in 2003 he was jailed again after he downloaded and stored 37 indecent pictures of children.
Then in 2010, he was sent to prison for a third time after pleading guilty to eight counts of making or possessing indecent images of children.
Hope, who changed his name from Gary Anderson following his arrest in 2002, wrote an open letter to The Northern Echo, in 1998 – before any of his convictions – complaining that “children were over-protected by society”.
He said in the letter: ” A recent visit to Durham City’s new shopping streets, I was shocked to discover some disturbing posters which had been put up on boards in several locations.
“These warned children of the dangers of any contact with unfamiliar people – never talk to strangers, never accept sweets from them and so on.
“In today’s world, children are over-protected and are safer from the unknown than ever before, and this right-wing propaganda perpetuates the myth of the family as the only safe place, and every stranger as an enemy.”
During one court case, it emerged that the former teacher admitted during a police interview that he was sexually attracted to girls aged between eight and 12.