Neil Foden jailed for 17 years for child sex abuse
July 2, 2024

A paedophile head teacher has been jailed for 17 years after being found guilty of sexual abuse involving four girls over a four-year period.

Neil Foden, 66, from Old Colwyn in Conwy county, was convicted of 19 charges in total.

These included 12 counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of sexual activity with a child while he was in a position of trust.

Sentencing him at Mold Crown Court, Judge Rhys Rowlands said he was “depraved”, “arrogant”, and a “bully”.

Foden, who was head of one Gwynedd school and strategic head of another, was also found not guilty of one count of sexual activity with a fifth girl.

He kept his head bowed throughout sentencing, his face expressionless when he was asked to stand.

Judge Rowlands said: “You felt like no-one would stand up to you, you believed the victims would never disclose.

“It is clear that, were it not for the courage of the victims and support offered by their families and the thoroughness of the investigation by police, there is every possibility you would have continued to offend.”

“You have no remorse… not shown an ounce of contrition and have no insight into the very serious harm you have caused.”

He said Foden was a “bombastic and domineering character” who had planned his actions.

He also told Foden he was barred from ever working with children and would be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The judge added it was possible that the fact that no formal investigation ensued after senior members of staff raised concerns over Foden’s behaviour with Gwynedd’s county council – Cyngor Gwynedd – “emboldened” him to continue his behaviour.

He went on to say there was “precious little” by way of “meaningful mitigation”.

“The fact you were well thought of as a headteacher has a hollow ring to it… you were living a lie,” he said.

The teacher joined Ysgol Friars in Bangor, Gwynedd, as a deputy head in 1989, becoming headteacher in 1997.

He was also strategic head of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle secondary school in Penygroes.

Five girls, who cannot be identified, accused him of abuse between January 2019 and September 2023.

Across the three-and-a-half week trial, the court heard how the head teacher groomed and abused the youngsters over a four year period, in locations including his car and hotel rooms.

He was also found guilty of one count each of causing or inciting child sexual activity, attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, sexual communication with a child, possession of indecent photographs of a child and sexual assault of a child.

During the trial, the court was shown a video of Foden holding the hand of one of the girls as she sat in the back of his car, while he was in the driver’s seat.

He was arrested after she showed an adult a photo of them together and screenshots of messages about oral sex.

Police attended his place of work on the afternoon of 6 September and arrested him.

He was charged two days later on 8 September, on suspicion of sexual offences.

The victim also described how Foden would search for locations on Google maps, where he would take her in his car and sexually abuse her.

He would make arrangements with her by text, sending hundreds of messages a day, and would tell her he loved her.

In a statement read at the sentencing, one of the victims said she had nightmares and flashbacks.

“I have lost all of my friends and I feel lonely and isolated. My future just feels hopeless,” she said.

Another victim read her own statement in court, saying that she wanted Foden to hear “first hand, the impact he had”.

She said she had been left unable to hug her own father due to what she had been through.

“He exploited my body and mind… I used to be light hearted… now I am colder, and I don’t care.”

She said she had asked him if she could trust him, and that he had said yes. Addressing him directly in the court, she told him: “You lied.”

Another victim also read her statement to the court, saying that Neil Foden had “torn a huge part” of her life away that she does not think she can get back.

“It hurts because I trusted him… He has taken my trust in people, away from me.”

She went on to say that the whole stress of her the trial could have been avoided “if Mr Foden had told the truth at the start”.

Another victim said what Foden had done was “unforgivable” and that they had all “been exploited”.

If you have suffered abuse or would like to discuss experiences, please contact our specialist child abuse solicitor, Charles Derham


Charles Derham

Charles Derham


Charles is a Solicitor Advocate and Director. He has over a decade of experience in dealing with complex and high-value child abuse claims.

He has successfully pursued significant six-figure settlement claims, numerous group actions against institutions and local authorities.

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