A supply teacher from Bury who created several fake Facebook profiles in order to befriend young boys has today been jailed at Bolton Crown Court after grooming a pupil online.
Matthew Settle, 26, of Sunnybank Road, Bury, was sentenced to prison for 18 months after he pretended to be a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old who posed as virtual brothers.
Settle reportedly encouraged an ‘unsuspecting’ pupil to begin a relationship with Settle’s fake sister and send inappropriate photos of himself to her.
Settle was eventually found to have more than 6000 indecent images of children – some of the highest level – for his own sexual gratification.
Detective Inspector Tony Tighe from Greater Manchester Police’s Bury Division, said: “Settle was a predator who tricked young boys into befriending him online, causing particular distress to the one boy who he manipulated into conversing with him inappropriately.
“He broke the trust of the pupil and the school he worked at and today he has been rightly sentenced for his crimes.”
Settle pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing indecent images of children, one count of making an indecent image of a child and one count of abuse of a position of trust.
He will be on the sex offender register for 10 years and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
Intelligence was passed to Greater Manchester Police from the Child Exploitation Online Protection Services (CEOP) relating to indecent images on a Facebook account.
In April 2015, Settle’s home was searched and further investigation revealed that he had set up several fake Facebook profiles.
The pupil, the family and the school are now being supported by the police and the local authority.
Anyone who would like further information about being safe online can go to www.thinkuknow.co.uk.