Science teacher jailed for sex with 13-year-old girl

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The Independent Online

A science teacher who posed as a teenage girl on the internet to groom a 13-year-old for sex was jailed for four years today.

Matthew Knott, 24, who taught at Elton High School in Bury, Greater Manchester, targeted the youngster online, sent her explicit messages and asked her for naked photos, Manchester Crown Court heard.



He also invented an online profile he called "Jessica", allegedly a girl of 15, to send MSN messages to his victim, who was not a pupil at his school, encouraging her to meet him.



A week after meeting online he picked her up in his car, drove her to his flat, ordered her, "like a teacher", to take off her clothes and had sex with the youngster.



Today Knott, of Miles Platting, Manchester, was jailed and banned from working with children for five years after admitting grooming a child for sex on the internet and sexual activity with a child.



Passing sentence Judge Michael Henshaw said: "It is perfectly clear to anybody here and reading about these offences these were carefully planned calculated offences carried out in a devious way to enable you to meet this child for the purpose of having sex with her.



"The type of activity you engaged in is of enormous public concern. Parents throughout this country are no doubt worried sick what their offspring might be doing when they are using the computer.



"There are people like you who adopt identities to encourage children to commit offences.







Adrian Farrow, prosecuting, told the court that on May 24 earlier this year Knott, then aged 23, spotted the girl's profile on a social networking website, Tagged.com, which showed her age, where she lived and her photo.

The website allowed users to send MSN messages to each other and Knott, using the name Matt7145 made contact and they had an hour-long online conversation.



She made her age clear to him, the court heard, and he replied he "felt bad".



Asked why by the girl, he replied: "Because I want to shag a 13-year-old."



She also began to receive messages from "Jessica" a fictional profile created by Knott to encourage the girl to engage.



Jessica asked the girl: "Are you looking for some fun...knickers off sort of fun?"



In more messages Knott asked his victim about oral and penetrative sex and masturbation, Mr Farrow said.



He told the girl he worked in a lab, shared a flat and asked for naked photos of herself.



Though reluctant she sent a photo of herself in her underwear and one just in her knickers.



Knott talked her into allowing him to pick her up on May 31 this year and the girl agreed - but decided not to go alone.



But her friend was then "grounded" for staying out late and the girl "panicked" as Knott was already on his way.



Instead she went alone, Knott picking her up in his car and driving her around.



He seemed to her to be "kind and calm" but before he got to his flat he asked her to take off her trousers and began to fondle her.



"He took her into his bedroom, sat her on the bed and began to kiss her," Mr Farrow told the court.



"He pushed her back on to the bed and continued to kiss her.



"At his request, in a manner she described as 'like a teacher' she undid her trousers and pulled them off. He had sexual intercourse with her. Immediately afterwards he took her home."



Later "Jessica" sent her a message asking: "Did you have fun?" To which the girl said she had not.



The conversation continued with the girl being told to delete all the contact they had online and "deny anything" if the police became involved.



"He used that fictional character to destroy evidence, just as he used 'Jessica' to encourage the girl to meet him in the first place," Mr Farrow added.



The girl later told her mother what had happened, police were called and Knott was arrested on June 3.



He made no comment when questioned but later admitted the offences at a hearing on August 13.







John Potter, mitigating, said: "It has destroyed his career, something he will not be able to resurrect in the future, quite rightly."

Knott, who made no reaction as he was jailed, was also banned for five years from having internet access except in a public library or through a place of work and banned from being with a female, under 16, in private.