A judge has let a paedophile teacher walk free after telling him she did not criticise him for being attracted to children.
Supply teacher David Armstrong had admitted hoarding more than 4,500 indecent images of children.
But handing the 63-year-old pervert a suspended sentence, Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: ‘I don’t criticise you for being a teacher who’s attracted to children.
'Outrageous': Judge Mary Jane Mowat, left, told pervert supply teacher David Armstrong, right, she did not criticise him for being attracted to youngsters
Her extraordinary comments – recorded by a local newspaper reporter – provoked fury from campaigners who labelled them ‘outrageous’.
Senior teaching representatives expressed disbelief at the remarks and said they sent the wrong message to child sex offenders.
Peter Bradley, of the children’s charity Kidscape, said schools exist to provide a safe place for children to learn.
‘This teacher should not have been in the profession and it is outrageous for the judge to say many teachers are sexually attracted to children,’ he said. ‘The message needs to be clear – if you are sexually attracted to children then you don’t work with them.’
'Unacceptable': Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers slammed the judge's comments
‘To suggest their interest in pupils could understandably be anything else is totally unacceptable.’
Armstrong was caught after a colleague reported him at the Little Heath School in Tilehurst, near Reading.
A teaching assistant noticed files on his laptop computer had names such as ‘rape wife’, ‘nude model’ and ‘gay alligator’.
Armstrong was arrested and police found the appalling catalogue of indecent images and videos on two laptops and an external hard drive.
Reading Crown Court heard more than 300 were in the two most serious categories and involved victims as young as two.
Some of the images were not of real children but Japanese cartoons depicting youngsters in sexual scenes.
Armstrong’s solicitor said he had worked at many schools and had an ‘impeccable record’.
The supply teacher, of Devizes, Wiltshire, was given 12-month jail sentences, suspended for two years, for each of five charges of making indecent photographs of children.
He was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years, with a Sexual Prevention Order which bans him from owning a computer or device capable of connecting to the internet.
He was also automatically banned from working with children.
The case is not the first time Judge Mowat has stirred controversy over sentences handed to sexual offenders.
In 2008, she allowed a former headmaster to walk free from court after he said drugs he was taking for Parkinson’s disease made him a paedophile.
Phillip Carmichael said the medication caused him to become ‘hypersexually active’ after he was caught with 8,000 images and videos on his computer.
The judge said the case was ‘wholly exceptional’ and gave him an absolute discharge.
Two years earlier, after paedophile Robert Prout was convicted of abusing a 12-year-old girl, the judge admitted she would normally give a suspended sentence but recent public criticism influenced her decision to jail him for ten months.
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