Jail for Leeds teaching assistant who downloaded over 13,000 child porn images

Matthew Dick.
Matthew Dick.
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A TEACHING assistant who filmed young boys at swimming baths and was found to have downloaded over 13,000 child porn images has been jailed.

A court heard police discovered boys’ underwear and pictures of youngsters in a safe went they went to Matthew Dick’s home in Leeds.

Dick, a teaching assistant at Swinnow Primary School, was jailed for three years and four months.

The 27-year-old also worked as a volunteer for the Barnardos children’s charity, which enabled him to have unsupervised access to vulnerable children

Dick pleaded guilty to 20 offences of possessing indecent images of children, two of taking indecent images of children and two offences of voyeurism.

Leeds Crown Court heard police went to the home Dick shared with his parents on Cherry Tree Crescent, Farsley, on April 27 last year.

Officers entered the property and saw Dick trying to delete items on his computer.

Computers and equipment were seized and were found to contain 13,768 illegal images.

James Lake, prosecuting, said 694 of the images were at category A - the most serious level of offending.

Footage was also found of boys under the age of ten getting changed at two different swimming pools in Leeds.

Films were also found of children which he had followed while they walked around with their parents at a Wicks hardware store.

Two pairs of boys’ underpants and two photographs were also found in a safe.

Mr Lake said Dick was a qualified teacher but was working as a teaching assistant at Swinnow Primary School at the time of his arrest.

Dick was also part of the fostering and mentoring team for Barnardos.

None of the illegal images involved in his offending were of children he came into contact with through his work.

Michael Walsh, mitigating, said Dick had been open about his offending since his arrest.

He added that Dick had developed an obsession for accessing the images on the internet.

Judge Sally Cahill, QC, told Dick that he had showed determination in obtaining the images.

She added: “This is a case in which only custody is an appropriate sentence.”

Jane Held, independent chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board said: “We are aware that a man, who had several roles working with children in Leeds, has been imprisoned for serious offences.

“We have been in close communication with all organisations with which Mr Dick was involved, either through employment or on a voluntary basis and I can confirm that as soon as they were made aware of the allegations all organisations took immediate action to end any contact this individual had with children.

“Children’s safety in Leeds is our paramount concern and we are satisfied that all of the organisations carried out rigorous checks including the relevant CRB/DBS checks prior to him working or volunteering with children.

“We understand that there is no evidence that any child Mr Dick had contact with during his employment or voluntary work in Leeds has been harmed in anyway. However if anyone has any concerns they are advised to contact West Yorkshire Police or Leeds City Council’s duty and advice team on 0113 3760336.”

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