Sex-groomer teacher caught in police sting.
Byline: STEVE ROBSON
A FORMER grammar school teacher told a '14-year-old boy' - who was actually an undercover police officer - he was 'okay with his age.'.
Peter Skinner, who retired last year after decades at Bury Grammar School, groomed 'Dylan' after striking up a conversation in an online chatroom.
Over the course of four days, he exchanged increasingly explicit messages with the officer, who was posing as the boy.
When 'Dylan' made clear he was only 14, Skinner said that he was 'okay with his age' because he 'just liked chatting to nice, teen lads',' prosecutor Justin Hayhoe told Minshull Street Crown Court.
But Skinner, who taught design and technology, then directed 'Dylan' to move the conversation into a private chatroom which encrypted messages. He eventually arranged to meet the 'boy' in north Wales, where he promised to shower him with gifts and perform a sex act.
Police then raided Skinner's house in Greenmount, Bury, last October, where they found 26 indecent images of children on his laptop.
There was also evidence he had used specialist software to 'forensically clean' his electronic equipment, the court heard.
Skinner was charged with eight offences.
He pleaded guilty to five of them, including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The three remaining charges will be allowed to lie on file.
Colin Buckle, defending, told the court his client had built up an art collection worth PS100,000 and he had arranged for it to be gifted to an art gallery in Anglesey that was then to be renamed in his honour - that arrangement has been scrapped. It was claimed that Skinner has also had to give up his membership of a number of 'prestigious groups',' which he attended alongside 'former chief constables and knights of the realm',' including the 'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne', which celebrates the famous French wine.
Judge Bernadette Baxter spared Skinner from jail and handed him a two-year suspended sentence.
He must also remain on the Sex Offenders Register and be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.
Mr Hayhoe told the court how Skinner had lied about his age, and that 'it would be easier' if 'Dylan' had been over 16.
The court heard it was Skinner who turned the conversation towards sex and that he sent 'Dylan' an explicit image of an underage girl.
Shamed: Former teacher Peter Skinner