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A British schoolteacher caught with 4,500 pornographic images — some of children as young as two — was told by the presiding judge that she understood his being attracted to children, but that other teachers with such urges keep them under control.

The 63-year old substitute teacher David Armstrong was arrested after a colleague noticed files on Armstrong’s laptop with names such as “rape wife,” “nude model” and “gay alligator,” according to reports in the British newspapers the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

A classroom assistant immediately reported Armstrong to the police who found 4,500 sexual images and videos on two laptops and an external hard drive.

The local court in the town of Reading was told that more than 300 were of the “worst kind,” some involving toddlers, according to press reports.

He was given a suspended sentence after Judge Mary Jane Mowat told him, “This was by any standards a substantial collection, with some 300 of the worst kind. You are 63 and this is your first conviction despite working as a teacher for 40 years. I don’t criticize you for being attracted to children, many very good teachers are, but keep their urges under control.”

According to the local newspaper, the Reading Chronicle, David Armstrong, 63, “was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years at Reading Crown Court on Friday for each of five charges of making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child, which he admitted at an earlier hearing. The court heard he realized he was attracted to children in his 20s.”

The judge then placed Armstrong on Britain’s Sex Offenders Register for 10 years, with a Sexual Prevention Order which bans him from owning a computer or device capable of connecting to the internet, and ordered him to pay 500 British pounds in court costs and to undergo treatment.

He is also banned from working with children. The Chronicle adds:

Defence counsel Robin Shellard said Armstrong, who is married and is the main carer of his elderly mother, worked at many schools and colleges and has an impeccable record.

He said some of the pictures were not of real youngsters but of “Japanese images depicting children” and only 0.5% were at the most serious level 5.

After the case, Little Heath headteacher David Ramsden stressed the offences do not relate to any pupils at the school past or present.

“Teachers are professionals whose interest is ensuring children and young people achieve their educational potential,” said Christine Blower, general secretary of Britain’s National Union of Teachers. “To suggest their interest in pupils could understandably be anything else is totally unacceptable.”

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