A sex offender who was a North Yorkshire head teacher when police found thousands of indecent images of children on his laptop has been struck off.

Matthew Shillito was suspended from his post at a Harrogate school following his arrest and has not worked as a teacher since. None of the children depicted in the images were connected to the school of which he was head.

The tribunal decided Shillito’s actions “contributed to a demand in a market in which the end result involves children being subject to abhorrent sexual abuse".

It also decided public confidence in the teaching profession would be “seriously weakened” if his behaviour involving sexual images of youngsters was not treated with the “utmost seriousness”.

The tribunal declared that Shillito had deliberately done what he had done.

There was a “material risk” he could do it again because although he appeared to be remorseful, he continued to deny he had done anything criminal, and he didn’t have insight into what he had done.

It therefore decided that Shillito be struck off permanently and not be allowed to apply at some date in the future to restart his teaching career.

When he was sentenced at York Magistrates' Court in 2022 for two offences involving indecent images of children, district judge Adrian Lower told him: “Your disgrace is complete.” At that time Shillito was 43-years-old, and gave his address as Gordon Avenue, Harrogate.

Shillito did not attend the teaching disciplinary tribunal that decided he should never work in a school or college in any capacity again.

He tried unsuccessfully to have the hearing in private to avoid further publicity of his actions, but the tribunal rejected his bid saying hearings were usually held in public.

Shillito sent the tribunal a written statement in which he claimed: “I did not search (the internet) for indecent images of under eighteen year olds.” He claimed he still maintains he is not guilty of the charges, of which he was convicted at trial.

The tribunal said it had no evidence that he had appealed his convictions.

He was convicted at trial in August 2022 of making 3,723 indecent images of children of the lowest category of seriousness and 20 of the medium category of seriousness by accessing them online.

He was given an 18-month community order, and put on the sex offenders’ register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order, both for five years.

The police raided his home and arrested Shillito in January 2020 and he appeared before York Magistrates' Court on September 23, 2021. 

When he was sentenced in September 2022, he told the court he had retrained to work in a career that didn’t involve access to children.