Simon Murch: Sheffield primary school teacher admits rape of child in Stoke

Sheffield schoolteacher pleads guilty to rape of child under 13 in Stoke-on-Trent case
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A Sheffield primary school teacher has pleaded guilty to the rape of a child in Stoke-on-Trent.

Simon Murch, aged 54, from Sheffield, admitted a charge of raping a child aged under 13 at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Monday.

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The judge adjourned the case until November 17, when Murch is expected to be sentenced over the crime which occurred in Staffordshire.

The 54-year-old had been a teacher at Sheffield’s Monteney Primary School, Parson Cross. The trust which runs the school, the Steel City Schools Partnership, has been approached for comment.

When Murch was charged earlier this year, its chief executive Nicola Shipman, said: “Following media coverage about a member of staff, on behalf of Steel City Schools Partnership and Monteney Primary, [...] we are working closely with all agencies, including the police, to ensure all processes are being followed correctly.

“We will provide information, as required, to these agencies. We can confirm that all safeguarding training, records and practices are all up to date and rigorously applied by all."

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Murch is also the regional joint secretary for the National Education Union in the city, and had been suspended from duties after the charges were brought against him.

A spokesperson for the union said at the time: “As soon as the union was made aware of the very serious charges, the national officers of the NEU met and have suspended the individual from membership and all elected positions with immediate effect. We will be making no further comment at this time.”

One shocked parent of two children who were taught by Murch at the Sheffield School he worked at spoke of her concerns on the matter, on the condition of not being named. She said: "This is a man who we have trusted with our children. A lot of parents are concerned because this isn’t a normal behaviour of a man, you can’t just get up one day and be attracted or want to harm a child.

"It’s more disturbing the fact the child is under 13 years old."

She said the only communication from the school was on the Friday the schools broke up, stating a member of staff had been arrested. She said the school had said nothing about him pleading guilty.