October 2019

Former school governor avoids jail after being caught with vile images of children

A former school governor and ‘businessman of the year’ was found with more than 600 vile images of children.

Timothy Peter Cook, of Grindley Bank, Mickle Trafford, in Chester, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, September 25.

The 78-year-old, who was a leading figure in business particularly in Runcorn and Halton, pleaded guilty at North Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to five counts on August 20.

He was charged with possessing 322 Categories A-C indecent images of children; making 12 Category A indecent images of children; making 21 Category B indecent images of children; making 289 Category C indecent images of children; and possessing a prohibited image of a child.

The offences were committed between September 2008 and January 2018.

The scale of seriousness for indecent images ranges from Category A for the most vile to Category C.

Cook had been due to be sentenced the week before but the matter was adjourned for reports.

In court on Wednesday he was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years.

Cook, who was known as Dr Peter Cook, retired from business in December 2018, when he stepped down as chairman of Halton Chamber of Commerce And Enterprise in December last year.

However he had previously been a leading light of city region business, particularly in Runcorn and wider Halton, having worked at ICI.

In 2006 he was named Cheshire Businessperson Of The Year in 2006, given a Liverpool Daily Post Business Award in 2007 and for a period was chairman of Halton Chamber Of Commerce And Enterprise.

Away from business he in Runcorn, Daresbury, Prescot, Litherland and Crewe.

The Trust includes schools; Bridgewater Park, Litherland High, Sir William Stanier, Daresbury Primary, The Heath School, Halsnead Primary, Palace Fields Primary and The Prescot School.

He also served as a governor at The Heath School and Riverside College, and as Deputy Lieutenant Of Cheshire.

Following his sentence a Heath Family (North West) Multi-Academy Trust spokesman said: “The trust only became aware of the issue when it was reported in the press last week.

“We have since contacted the police and they have confirmed that there is no suggestion that any of our students have been impacted by this individual’s offending, or that there is any evidence to suggest that he was involved in any inappropriate activity before he left his position as chair within the trust.”

A spokeswoman for Halton Chamber said Cook has left the organisation and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment.

An SOG spokesman said: “Peter Cook retired from the company in 2013 and we have no knowledge about this other than what we have seen in the press.”

He transformed the company’s former offices into the Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn following ICI’s demise, but left the company in 2013.

Cook was also placed under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for seven years.

He must also pay costs and victim surcharge.

The court ordered the forfeiture and destruction of his computer.