18 August 2017, 16:13
A deputy head teacher who tried to meet a 15 year-old boy he had sexually groomed over the Internet was jailed for a year today.
Glyn Knowles, from near Stevenage, travelled to the boy's home town hoping to meet the youngster for sex.
What the 50 year old didn't know was that he had been caught in a "sting" and the "boy" he had been communicating with on the gay dating website Grindr was in fact an investigative journalist.
As a result, Knowles was stopped in his car by police who had been alerted by the reporter and he was arrested.
Today Knowles, the former deputy head teacher at the Cambridge International School, was jailed for a year after he pleaded guilty at St Albans crown court to attempting to meet a boy under the age of 16 following grooming.
Prosecutor Jan Hayne told the court how, in July of this year Knowles, who lived in High Street, Puckeridge in Hertfordshire, went onto the gay website, having set up a profile using a false name showing his photograph.
As a result, the court was told, he made contact with another visitor to the website who he thought was a 15 year-old boy.
Miss Hayne said that the person behind the teenager's profile was in fact an investigative journalist who was investigating paedophiles using the internet.
The court heard that the journalist had a profile picture which showed a young boy.
But in his first message to the 'boy,' Knowles said "Hi, nice pic mate, very sexy."
Very soon, Knowles had established that he was in contact with a 15 year old teenager, but it still didn't stop him turning the conversation to sex.
He even sent the 'boy' a picture of himself in brief boxer shorts and asked him intimate questions about sex.
The court heard the communications between the defendant and the journalist posing as a teenager continued for a number of days, with the defendant finally arranging to drive to Bishop's Stortford to meet the 'youngster.'
Miss Hayne said that the reporter was able to tell Herts Police of the arrangement, and officers - having spotted the defendant in his car driving along The Causeway in Bishop's Stortford - stopped him on the afternoon of Friday July 14 this year.
Judge Andrew Bright QC, hearing the case, was told that Knowles had devoted his life to teaching and, at the time of the offence, was Deputy Headmaster at the Cambridge International School.
He had attended a number of child protection courses as a result of his involvement with youngsters.
The prosecutor said that when the defendant was first questioned by the police about what he had been up to that day, he claimed he hadn't wanted to meet the youngster for sex, but to talk to him and advise him on how to use the internet safely.
Chris Whitehouse, defending, said Knowles now recognised his career was in "tatters" and he would never teach again.
He said that, as a result of his arrest, there had been widespread publicity.
Mr Whitehouse said Knowles had already, of his own volition, sought help for his problem and was seeing a counsellor.
Passing sentence, Judge Bright told Knowles that he had pleaded guilty to "a really serious offence."
The judge said it was clear, from having read the communications between him and the "youngster," that Knowles was interested in meeting the boy on the day of his arrest for sex.
Judge Bright said that one aggravating feature of the case was the fact that, as a head teacher, Knowles had responsibility for child protection at his school.
He told him:
"You were responsible for the protection of children, not the abuse of children."
The judge said the message had to go out to those thinking of embarking on similar offending that they could expect an immediate custodial sentence.
He jailed Knowles for 12 months and said he would be made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and his name would also be added to the sex offenders register.