Damian Wanstall, deputy principal at Kellyville High School, has been charged with online sexual grooming offences. Picture: LinkedIn
Damian Wanstall, deputy principal at Kellyville High School, has been charged with online sexual grooming offences. Picture: LinkedIn

What deputy principal asked ‘girl’ revealed

Police allegedly responded to an online ad from a Sydney deputy principal offering to pay teenage girls for sex with the question, "I'm 14, is that OK?", a court has heard.

It is alleged Kellyville High School deputy Damian Wanstall initially replied "maybe a bit too young" before he went on to ask for naked pictures and discuss the sex acts he wished to perform.

He even floated an offer of $300 for a "few hours' fun", police will allege.

The new details about the conversation between Mr Wanstall and an undercover police officer posing as an underage girl were revealed when the 47-year-old successfully applied for bail at Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday.

Mr Wanstall had spent eight days behind bars after he was caught in a sting by detectives from a special strike force and charged with using a carriage service to procure a child under 16 years for sexual activity and using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material.

Damian Wanstall has been granted bail in court.
Damian Wanstall has been granted bail in court.

The arrest happened when Mr Wanstall arrived at the meeting place he had agreed with the fictitious girl.

Police found $200 in cash on him and he admitted he was there to see the teenager, the court heard.

On Tuesday his lawyer Darren Emery claimed during the bail application that police had misled "this poor man" and "respected" teacher by responding to his online ad.

The court heard officers began engaging with Mr Wanstall in early December after he posted an ad on classifieds website Locanto stating: "Any legal Indian of Filo teens want fun".

"40yo Aussie daddy seeking sexy play this weekend. Will reward. Can house discretely at Rouse Hill," the post read.

Mr Emery said police had omitted the word "legal" from Mr Wanstall's ad in documents tendered to the court which he argued changed "the whole nature of the case".

Mr Wanstall never really knew he was going to meet and was "lucky" it was police at the scene and not thugs "ready to rob him", his lawyer said.

Mr Wanstall’s arrest in Westmead on December 7, 2020. Picture: NSW Police
Mr Wanstall’s arrest in Westmead on December 7, 2020. Picture: NSW Police

Mr Wanstall appeared on screen wearing a green, prison issue T-shirt and glasses as the court heard for the first time what messages he sent the imaginary girl.

The court heard police responded to his ad on the classifieds website with the question: "I'm 14 is that OK?"

"Maybe a bit too young," the teacher replied.

The advertisement on Locanto.
The advertisement on Locanto.

Mr Wanstall, however, allegedly continued to chat with the imaginary girl, discussing sex acts and asking for pictures of her breasts and vagina, the court heard.

This was despite undercover police repeatedly reminding him of the girl's purported age.

He later offered the girl $300 for "a few hours' fun" and organised to meet at a home in Westmead on December 7.

In opposing bail, police prosecutor Emily Burr told the court Mr Wanstall spoke with the online identity for a number of days, and allegedly discussed plans for regular meetings.

"This is clearly brazen offending committed while he was a person in a position of responsibility in the community and in regular contact with children," she said.

 

Damian Wanstall has been formally suspended by the Education Department.
Damian Wanstall has been formally suspended by the Education Department.

Mr Emery said Mr Wanstall told police when he arrived at the scene he intended to meet the girl and "check her age".

But he claimed there was still a possibility the teacher could have left the scene like "any reasonable adult" if she truly was underage.

"None of these people know who they will meet in the end," he said.

"In my client's case it was lucky it was detectives. It could have been a female person with a number of males ready to rob him."

The court heard Mr Wanstall, who had worked as a teacher for 22 years, has been formally suspended from duties by the Department of Education and is banned from attending Kellyville High.

Parents had complained to the local MP and Police Minister David Elliot about Mr Wanstall's behaviour, the court heard.

Mr Emery pondered if the sting may have been targeted.

That was denied by Ms Burr, who said the teacher used an online pseudonym and officers could not have known who they were engaging with.

 

The teacher had been held in custody for a week. Picture: NSW Police
The teacher had been held in custody for a week. Picture: NSW Police

Under Mr Wanstall's strict bail conditions he must live at his mother's Blue Mountains home where he will effectively be under house arrest with a night-time curfew.

He can only leave with his mum, cannot set foot on any school grounds, and is banned from accessing the internet or being in the presence of a child.

Mr Wanstall will next appear in court on February 12, 2021.

Originally published as What deputy principal asked 'girl' revealed


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