A former high school headteacher has been found guilty of sexual offences against four girls.

Neil Foden, 66, who worked at a school in North Wales, was convicted on Tuesday at Mold Crown Court of 19 offences.

The trial heard Foden abused the four complainants over a four-year period.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on the charges and cleared Foden of one count of sexual activity with a child on Wednesday afternoon, after a day of deliberations.

Judge Rhys Rowlands warned the defendant, who did not appear to react in the dock, he would face a lengthy custodial sentence.

He said: “Some of the explanations for your behaviour towards the victims proffered by you during the course of the trial at times frankly beggared belief.”

He said the fact Foden put forward the explanations was borne out of his “arrogant controlling personality as an individual who is used to getting your own way”.

He added: “You were a powerful figure, you thought you could just do as you liked.”

The court was shown a video of the defendant holding the hand of one of the girls, child A, as she sat in the back of his car, while he was in the driver’s seat.

Foden, who was previously an executive member for the National Education Union, was arrested after child A showed an adult a photo of them together and screenshots of messages about oral sex.

She told police: “He would say he loved me. After a while it got a bit more sexual.

“After we kissed a few days later he put his hands down my pants, so the text messages would be like, what he wanted to do to me.”

The court heard he would pick her up in his car and drive them to secluded areas.

Another complainant, child E, told police she referred to Foden as Mr P, for perfect, while he called her “his little sex toy”.

She also described meeting the defendant in his BMW car, which had personalised number plates, and driving to remote laybys and country lanes “for him to have a play with me”.

After Foden was arrested, police later found a pair of purple and black lace handcuffs in the boot of his car which had DNA present matching Foden and the youngster.

Foden was accused of pinching the thigh of child B and putting his hand under her clothing.

Child C alleged he had placed his hand at the top of her inner thighs.

Foden denied all of the offences and said he was not an “abusive adult”.

He told the jury he was not able to have sex because of erectile dysfunction caused by a medical condition.

Asked about a message he sent to child A in which he said he felt “slightly horny”, he said: “The sad reality is Mr Foden couldn’t feel slightly horny if he wanted to.”

He said the message was meant to be “complimentary” and make the girl “feel attractive”.

The court heard concerns about Foden were raised with Gwynedd Council at an earlier stage.

Judge Rowlands said: “When real concerns were first raised about the defendant with the county council they were simply dismissed, pretty much out of hand.”

He said no investigation was carried out and no notes were taken.

He added: “We now know he continued to offend. That’s very concerning indeed.”

A spokeswoman for the council said it “welcomed” the court’s decision and was “appalled” by the nature of Foden’s crimes.

She said: “Now that the criminal process has concluded, the task of reviewing work practices and establishing what lessons can be learnt will begin.

“Due to the serious nature of the case, arrangements are being made to carry out an independent review in accordance with national Child Practice Review guidelines.

“The exact form of the review is currently being determined.”

Foden, of Old Colwyn, North Wales, was convicted of 12 counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust, and 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.

He was cleared of one count of sexual activity with a child, where he was alleged to have touched the bottom of child D.

He was remanded in custody ahead of a sentencing hearing on July 1.