A former primary school teacher has avoided a jail sentence after he admitted downloading images of child abuse on his computer.
Gordon Phillips, who has been a teacher for 25 years, pretended to be female in online chatrooms where he talked about how he would like to abuse children and obtained indecent images of children.
Northampton Crown Court heard that after Phillips’s computer was seized on August 10, officers found two images of the most serious category A, four category B and 34 category C. The period covered by the charges was from April to December 2014.
As a standard procedure for all teachers, Phillips had been using the computer during his time working at Wilbarston Primary School.
Philip Gibbs, prosecuting, said none of the images related to children at this school and Phillips was no longer working there.
Mr Gibbs said Phillips, who went on to work at a special school in Northamptonshire, had been sacked from his new job.
The court heard that Phillips had made “full and frank” admissions about his behaviour in his police interview.
Mr Gibbs said Phillips, of Windermere Road, Kettering, had told officers he was deeply ashamed of his behaviour.
He said: “The defendant told officers he felt sick and would lose his job. He said he did not plan to move into his job to get sexual gratification from young children.”
Carl Templar-Vasey, mitigating, said his client had committed the offences during a difficult period in his personal and professional life.
He said: “This was a form of escapism and ‘fantasy’. He now recognises that what he did was wholly unhealthy and unlawful.”
Recorder Martin Hurst said he gave Phillips credit for facing up to the consequences of his actions.
He said: “As a result of things going wrong in your domestic and professional life, you chose as an outlet going online and fantasising about committing vile offences and viewing indecent images of children.”
Phillips, who pleaded guilty to three offences of downloading indecent images of children, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years. He must also complete 120 hours unpaid work. He was made subject of a sexual offences order for the next 10 years.