North Yorkshire head teacher Matthew Shillito convicted of internet sex crimes
A headteacher with a “corrosive” interest in sexual images of children is today a convicted sex offender and his career is in ruins.
Matthew Shillito, 43, has led at least two primary schools in North Yorkshire and was working as a head teacher at the time of his arrest. He was immediately suspended and is currently not working.
York Magistrates’ Court heard how police found thousands of indecent images of children on his home computer when they raided his home.
They also found he had been regularly visiting websites holding sexual images of children and making searches for sexual images of children while leading the staff at two different primary schools in Harrogate.
Shillito, of Gordon Avenue, Harrogate, denied two charges of making indecent images of children between 2007 and 2015 but was convicted at the end of a trial.
District judge Adrian Lower said Shillito had “developed a corrosive interest in child pornography” and warned the headteacher he could be jailed.
He released Shillito on bail until September 7 while a probation officer prepares a report on him.
Shillito has to register as a sex offender and the prosecution will request that he be made subject to a sexual harm prevention order when he returns to York Magistrates’ Court.
He is also now likely to face a teacher professional tribunal and could be struck off.
During the trial, the court heard how when police raided Shillito’s home on January 4, 2020, they found a laptop with indecent images in its internet cache and an iPad which the prosecution said had been used to search for indecent images.
Phil Morris, prosecuting, said the computer contained evidence that Shillito had repeatedly visited websites with indecent images.
The laptop was last used to search the web on February 27, 2011, but there were later search terms on the iPad that indicated Shillito was looking for indecent images.
In total police found almost 4,000 images of kids in the laptop’s cache.
Giving evidence at the trial, Shillito claimed he had been looking for holiday photos as he was interested in photography and that he had an interest in naturism.
None of his sex crimes were committed against children at any school where he has been a teacher.