anne lakey
Anne Lakey has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of 13 counts of indecent assaultNorth News and Pictures

A successful headteacher described by one of her victims as a "disgusting sexual monster" has been jailed for eight years for assaulting two teenage pupils.

Anne Lakey, 55, from Stanley, County Durham, was found guilty on 23 June of 13 counts of indecent assault on the teenagers in the 1980s.

Teesside Crown Court heard she took one boy's virginity at her home and the other's in a tent on a camping trip.

Lakey, described as a "sexual predator" by prosecutors, had denied committing the offences over a three-year period.

One victim was 15, while the other was aged 13 or 14 at the time he was first assaulted.

During sentencing, the court heard Lakey's offending was a "gross breach of trust".

Prosecutor Caroline Goodwin read statements to the court written by both men about their experiences. The younger victim said: "I think Anne is a dirty pervert. I was under-age, it was not like I was 13 and she was 15 or something, we weren't even the same generation. She was old enough to be my mother."

The other said he had since realised he had been a "victim of sexual exploitation".

"I feel a sense of shame that I allowed myself to be in that position," he said.

Sentencing, Judge Howard Crowson told Lakey: "You used subtle persuasion and flattery, encouraging each boy to take his first tentative sexual steps with you. You corrupted two boys about half your age. They were naive and immature."

Lakey, the former chief executive of the Durham Federation, had been a national leader in education, lauded for improving pupils' exam performance.

There may be more victims

Judge Crowson told Lakey her sentence would "destroy the career you have worked so hard to build".

"You will find prison a particular hardship, given the illness you have battled against," he added.

Tim Roberts QC, defending, said Lakey had received treatment for breast cancer in 2012 and would require ongoing care.

Speaking outside court, Det Insp Aelf Sampson, of Durham Police, said: "Throughout the investigation we have been aware that there may be other people involved in this inquiry who may come forward as victims and we would like them to make the approach to us.

[The victims have] seen her have a successful glittering career, they've seen her be praised by government...described as inspirational, and I think that did make it harder for them to come forward."