A SENIOR teacher’s career and personal life has been left in tatters due to his online activities engaging in sexualised chat with underage girls.

Geoffrey Roger Brown, head of science and deputy head of sixth form at the Durham Federation of Schools, also posed as a teenage girl in some of his online conversations.

He was engaged in such an act when police called at his home in High Pittington, near Durham, on May 2, 2015.

Durham Crown Court heard that officers asked to see his computer equipment, and he led them to his study in the loft.

Conor Quinn, prosecuting, said one monitor featured a live chat in which a participant claimed to be 14.

Brown told the officers: “This doesn’t look good. That’s me pretending to be 14, for a joke, this morning.”

He claimed something similar “popped up” the previous week, but he deleted it.

Brown was arrested and several computer devices were seized.

Mr Quinn said examination revealed indecent child images were sent to other Skype users, while his sexualised online conversations came to light, in which he asked for revealing pictures and made suggestive remarks.

In others he posed as a provocative teenage girl prepared to engage in sexual activity.

When questioned he said it was an abortive attempt to investigate paedophiles on the internet.

Brown, 54, of Graham Terrace, High Pittington, admitted making indecent images of children, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of attempting to incite child pornography, and one of attempting to incite child sexual activity.

Jane Waugh, mitigating, handed nine character references to the court and said the defendant was of previous good character.

She said the former miner retrained and graduated in bio-chemistry before working his way up through the teaching profession.

“He’s now had to confront his own behaviour and is treated differently by his peers and family, which has brought home to him the severity of what he has done.”

Miss Waugh said the defendant was suffering stress through work pressure at the time.

“He’s been married for 31 years and knows his job is no longer open to him. He can’t ever go back to teaching.”

Recorder Bryan Cox told Brown he committed serious offences over a substantial period, but, given his previous good character, evident remorse and the impact on his life, he could suspended sentence.

He passed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 18 months’ probation supervision to address his offending, while Brown will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and sex offender registration, for ten years.