September 2023

Teacher unmasked as Snapchat paedophile ‘addicted’ to indecent images of children

A high school teacher has been unmasked as a Snapchat paedophile “addicted” to indecent images of children.

Antony Phillips collected thousands of photographs of child abuse over the span of several years, even paying to download these vile materials. The 32-year-old, who also worked as a football coach, meanwhile made worrying searches for “changing room boys” online.

Liverpool Crown Court heard last week that he was linked via his IP address to the upload of a category B indecent image to Snapchat. Ben Berkson, prosecuting, described how police attended his home in December last year in order to arrest him, seizing two laptops and a mobile phone.

Both of the computers were subsequently found to contain indecent images of children. This included a stash of 784 pictures in category A, those showing the most serious forms of abuse.

A further 1,052 images in category B and 3,801 in category C were also discovered, as were 79 computer generated prohibited images. The “majority” of the more than 5,000 images were said to have shown “teenage boys of school age”.

“Concerning search terms which indicated a predilection for young teenage boys” were found in Phillips’ internet history, including one for “changing room boys”.

A teacher at Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby, Wirral, for more than seven years until January this year, he had been amassing his “large collection” since at least 2018 – including paying for images on websites and chat rooms.

The defendant, of Bridgenorth Road in Pensby, was also a football coach who took his team on residential trips. Phillips, who has no previous convictions, made “full and frank admissions” under interview, confessing to detectives that he was “addicted to accessing this material”.

But he “denied having a sexual interest in the boys he taught and coached” as he was “able to draw a veil when it came to his professional career”. The pervert did however “accept sexual arousal from accessing and viewing images of children”.

Phillips admitted distributing indecent images, possession of indecent images, three counts of making indecent images and possession of prohibited images of children.

He was handed a nine-month imprisonment suspended for two years by Judge Garrett Byrne, as well as being told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work, a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 15 days and the Horizon sex offender treatment programme.

Phillips was also told to sign the sex offenders’ register. Forfeiture of the seized devices was ordered.