A former teaching professional from Harrogate has been handed an 18-month community order for making indecent images of children.
Matthew Shillito, aged 43, appeared at York Magistrates’ Court today (Friday 9 September 2022) following the conclusion of a two-day trial on 10 August.
He was found guilty of making 20 Category B and 3,723 Category C images made between 3 December 2012 and 31 December 2015.
As part of the sentencing, Shillito has been placed on the Register of Sex Offenders for five years and been made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years.
He must also undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, complete a rehabilitation course, and pay court costs of £600 plus a £60 surcharge.
Shillito denied the offences and stated that he does not have a sexual interest in children.
He argued that the illegal images inadvertently found their way onto his devices while looking at other photographs online.
However, the Judge found him guilty after hearing evidence from the investigation run by North Yorkshire Police’s Online Abuse and Exploitation Team.
Supported by the findings of the Digital Forensics Unit, they were able to demonstrate how the indecent images of children were located on the devices used by Shillito.
The court heard that Shillito was a teaching professional in the Harrogate District of North Yorkshire at the time of the offences.
He was immediately suspended from his post when he was arrested in January 2020 and subsequently dismissed.
Parents can be reassured that none of the offences relate to his employment.
Detective Constable Andy Lowes, of the Online Abuse and Exploitation Team, said: “North Yorkshire Police is committed to preventing child sexual abuse, helping victims and bringing offenders to justice.
“Those who obtain and distribute child abuse material directly contribute to the sexual exploitation of children. This is because the children involved are continually re-victimised every time the images are viewed.”
Reporting and seeking help about online sexual abuse
Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response
Marie Collins Foundation - mariecollinsfoundation.org.uk – support for children and young people who have been abused via the internet and mobile technologies
Stop it Now! – www.stopitnow.org.uk – Helpline 0808 1000 900 – confidential help and support for people who concerned about their or someone else’s thoughts and behaviour towards children
Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), on 0330 223 0362, email [email protected] or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/
NSPCC Helplines: Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 8005000; Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support; Childline is available for young people on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk