Dad who called Walton headteacher ‘child abuser’ on Facebook given a restraining order

David Lawrence, exiting Colchester Magistrates' Court

David Lawrence, exiting Colchester Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

An “angry” dad who posted an offensive comment on a school Facebook post calling staff “child abusers and paedophiles” has been given a restraining order.

David Lawrence, 43, commented on a letter published on the social media site by Walton Primary School.

In his comment, made on May 10, he said: “Child abusers, paedophiles, you get what you deserve.”

Lawrence, of Oakwood Avenue, West Mersea, pleaded guilty yesterday at Colchester Magistrates’ Court to sending a grossly offensive communication by electronic means.

Stephen Sparkes, prosecuting, told the court although the school’s Facebook page administrators had not approved the comment, it was visible to other parents who were friends with Lawrence on Facebook and to the school’s headteacher Suzanne Bliss and the office manager who ran the social media page.

Miss Bliss reported the post to police after both seeing it herself, and being contacted about it by another parent.

The letter posted by the school had asked parents to behave after a few incidents where parents had been abusive to teachers, Mr Sparkes said.

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“Miss Bliss felt the comment was directed at her personally because he commented on letter written by her,” he added.

Lawrence, who appeared in the dock wearing a T-shirt which read “Old enough to know better... daft enough to do it anyway”, had been given a community order in February – including 100 hours of unpaid work – for a similar offence of posting on the school’s Facebook page and emailing the school, the court heard.

The delivery driver had already carried out 86 of the unpaid work hours.

In the previous post he had called staff child abusers and paedophiles, and said he was going to kill Miss Bliss.

Danielle Jones, mitigating, said, Lawrence was “angry and frustrated” as he had not seen his son, who attends the school, for more than five years following a court order.

She added that in speaking to Lawrence he had become “rather upset”, and added: “The issue is not necessarily with Miss Bliss or the school, but the system that does not allow him to see his son.

“Yes it was an unpleasant post on what potentially could have a public forum.

“He explains it is simple frustration. He vents his anger but unfortunately in he wrong arenas.”

Chairman of the magistrates Dr Ilona Perkins-Van Mil sentenced Lawrence to a year-long community order, during which time he must complete 80 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity days. She revoked the previous community order.

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Magistrates also imposed a restraining order banning Lawrence from posting on the school’s Facebook page, attending the school in Stanley Road, Walton, or contacting Miss Bliss.

Dr Perkins-Van Mil added she hoped Lawrence would “never come back to court”.