A former Blackpool primary school teacher who preyed on two young girls was today branded “reprehensible” after he was put behind bars for his “horrifying” crimes.
Police said Kevin Christie, who worked at Baines Endowed Primary School in Marton, had been “rightly jailed” after he admitted inciting a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity and possessing an indecent picture of a 14-year-old.
A court heard Christie spoke to one girl via an online messaging service and encouraged her to talk about her sexual preferences.
The 14-year-old girl also sent him an indecent image of herself, believing Christie to be a 25-year-old called Jamie Johnson.
Det Sgt Kevin Wright, of Lancaster CID, told The Gazette: “Christie’s actions were reprehensible, using technology to prey on two young girls for his own gratification.
“Neither of the offences relate to any child or children at the school he worked at but it’s all the more shocking when it’s someone in a position of trust working with children.
“This behaviour will no doubt horrify members of the public, particularly those who are parents of teenage girls, and it’s right Christie has been jailed for his actions.”
Jailing Christie for 12 months at yesterday’s Preston Crown Court hearing, Judge Pamela Badley, said: “There is a deep revulsion for those who seek out remote sexual activity with young girls. This was something which was clearly a sexual thrill as far as you were concerned.
“The fact is you were someone who was employed for the welfare of children. You had considerable trust placed in you by members of the community.”
The court heard Christie communicated with the 13-year-old, from Scotland, through the Blackberry mobile phone messenger service between January 18 and February 22 last year.
Mercedeh Jabbari, prosecuting, said the teacher spoke to her in a sexual manner.
The girl’s mother contacted police when she discovered the messages, and officers then passed the case to colleagues in Lancashire.
Officers visited Christie’s home in Priesftield, Thornton, and seized his computer.
On it they found the image of the 14-year-old girl.
Miss Jabbari said: “He had engaged in (online video chat programme) Skype conversations with (the girl) of a sexual nature.
“He told her she was beautiful and he had fallen for her.
“She told him she was taking a course in sports – he told her he was a sports coach.”
Christie asked for images of the girl, and sent images of himself in return.
When interviewed by the police, he admitted to the conversations with the girls.
Of the Skype conversation, he told police it was a habit and a problem for him.
He pleaded guilty in November to inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and possessing indecent images of a child.
Robert Golinski, defending, said that as a result of the police investigation, Christie had been suspended from his job at Baines, and his marriage had broken down.
He later lost his job in December last year.
Mr Golinski said: “He has genuine remorse for his actions and genuine shame at the way he has conducted himself. He has lost everything.”
Mr Golinski said Christie, who before yesterday’s sentencing was living with his parents, had suffered a mental breakdown in the past, and, following marital problems, “retreated into himself”. It’s then that he created a virtual world for himself.
He added: “He didn’t, in reality, understand the seriousness of what he was engaging in.”
Judge Badley told Christie: “You were undergoing some problems in your relationship and you sought the virtual reality in a seedy world in which you felt that you were able to engage with a young girl.
“It has been suggested you were somewhat naive; that you did not understand the seriousness. I find that hard to accept.
“This clearly was not something that took place physically – you did not touch this child – but you did engage in a way which is sometimes called a mind game and it will undoubtedly affect upon her in the future when she realises perhaps what was taking place.”
Governors from Baines Endowed CofE Primary confirmed Christie had been dismissed from his job.
Together with his jail term, Christie was placed on the Sex Offender’s Register for 10 years.