A FORMER teacher who collected thousands of indecent images of children from the internet has been barred from ever working in the profession.

Jonathan Alexander Briggs was convicted of downloading the images in a hearing before County Durham and Darlington magistrates, in October 2019.

He went on to receive a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, imposed at Durham Crown Court in November 2019.

The court heard it followed a targeted police visit to his home in April that year, during which a number of computer devices were seized and removed for examination.

Briggs’ efforts to conceal his interest in such material, featuring children as young as four being sexually abused by adults, including the use of encrypted files for which examiners needed special software to gain access.

It was found that over the preceding four-and-a-half years he downloaded 1,325 offending images, including 436 in the most serious category, 244 of them moving, as well as six images featuring scenes of bestiality.

The court heard all were still accessible and it was clear some had been viewed on multiple occasions.

Experts discovered use of a browser capable of masking internet activity and a virtual private software network maintaining the anonymity of the user.

The defendant admitted downloading the images, when in drink, over several years, but there was no evidence of any sharing.

Via peer to peer software, however, dialogue between Briggs and another man revealed what Judge James Adkin described as, “a somewhat flippant attitude.”

Briggs, then 34, of Edward Avenue, Bowburn, admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornography.

In mitigation, the court heard he was of previous good character and made immediate admissions.

In sentencing Briggs, the judge told him: “You have lost your employment and you will never work with children again.

“Your reputation is in tatters with friends and family.”

He ordered Briggs to undergo a sex offender rehabilitation programme and attend 30 probation-supervised activity days, while the former maths teacher was made subject to registration as a sex offender and restrictions under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, both for ten years.

Read more: Teacher downloaded images of children being abused

His case came before a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency, last week.

It was staged in his absence, as it was agreed he was given plenty of notice of the hearing.

The panel concluded he demonstrated, “little or no insight into his actions and lacked contrition,” and his conduct was, “deliberate, calculated and motivated.”

It therefore agreed it was, “in the public interest” to recommend his lifetime prohibition from teaching.

The recommendation was accepted by the office of Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, which agreed on the indefinite prohibition from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home, in England.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054