Conman lied about his criminal past to get teaching job at West Yorkshire school.

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A conman was employed as a teacher at a West Yorkshire primary school for almost four months before authorities discovered he was not qualified.

Christopher Lafferty also told lies to cover up his criminal past in order to obtain the job at Park Road Junior and Infants School, Batley.

A court heard Lafferty was offered a contract to work in the maths department after a “successful and impressive” interview.

Leeds Crown Court heard Lafferty, in order to get the job, had to submit an application form with a statement of disclosure regarding criminal convictions.

Lafferty declared he and a former business partner had been fined by a judge following an investigation Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Robert Galley, prosecuting, said the declaration was untrue and Lafferty had in fact been given a suspended prison sentence for fraud after he had made false statements in order to get a job at a home caring for dementia patients.

Lafferty had lied that he had a degree in adult nursing from Huddersfield University awarded in 2000 - the 26-year-old would have been aged just 12 when he obtained the qualification had the claim been true.

Lafferty worked at the Batley school for almost four months before his lies came to the attention of Kirklees Council last year.

Checks revealed he had completed teacher training but had not passed a ‘final skills test’ to qualify as a classroom teacher.

The court heard Lafferty, of Haigh Park Walk, Pontefract, had been paid £6,900 in salary before the deception came to light.

Lafferty pleaded guilty to fraud. Mr Galley said the offence was aggravated by the fact he was subject to a suspended sentence for a similar deception at the time.

Angus Macdonald, mitigating, describing Lafferty’s offending as “bizarre”.

He said: “These offences are indicative of someone who is vulnerable.

“He is someone who want to impress and be liked and he tells outrageous lies in order to do so.”

Mr McDonald said Lafferty had been liked by other teachers at the school and there had been no concerns over his ability before he was caught.

The barrister said Lafferty had been offered a job as a classical musician on a cruise liner.

The court also heard Lafferty had helped to raise £20,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Lafferty, who has been in custody since his arrested, was given an 18 months sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Date: 4th July 2017.
Picture James Hardisty.
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