Ex magistrate internet pervert is jailed for two years
A FORMER magistrate caught in a covert police operation set up to trap internet perverts has been jailed for two years.
Ian Knight, who was also a schools inspector, lied about his age as he chatted to young girls, encouraged them to send him indecent photographs and engage in sexual activity over a webcam.
The 50-year-old, who stepped down from the bench at West Bromwich after his arrest and also resigned from his job with Ofsted, had now lost everything, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Knight, of Ebrington Road, West Bromwich, admitted 13 charges including sexual activity in the presence of a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent photographs.
Judge Amjad Nawaz told the part-time maths teacher he had not only been entrusted to look after children, but also to make sure people in charge of children were doing their job properly. The judge further ruled Knight should register as a sex offender for ten years and he barred him from ever working with children.
He told Knight, who showed no reaction as he was sentenced, that his actions with his victims had been “close to grooming” which was a cause for major concern.
The court was told police set up an internet site pretending to belong to a young girl called Katie and Knight was arrested after he made contact and his computer equipment was seized.
Officers then identified three other young girls aged between 12 and 15 who were victims of Knight as he used the name “Reg” on a website – because school inspectors had the nickname of “Reggies”.
Blondelle Thompson, defending, said father-of-two Knight accepted he had committed “horrendous” offences, adding: “He should have known better.”
She told the court Knight had worked extremely hard for the community over the years after earning a degree at Warwick University.
“He was so highly thought of that he was head-hunted to lead a group that went into schools to ensure they were running effectively,” said Ms Thompson.
Knight had trained “high-flying teachers” and started using internet chatrooms when he had “time on his hands” from school duties.
Since his arrest, she went on, he had been told he was no longer welcome in his local pub, his car had been vandalised and he faced abuse from his neighbours.
Knight, who was working for Virgin Trains, had lost everything, said Ms Thompson, and he was also in danger of losing his home.