Teacher Alexander Thomas jailed for grooming on Facebook

Alexander Thomas Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption Alexander Thomas started sending the messages in 2010, the court heard

A teacher who was found guilty of grooming pupils on Facebook has been jailed.

Alexander Thomas approached the teenagers on the social networking site and asked them to send him photographs of them in their underwear.

Thomas, 30, of Taw Hill, Swindon, was found guilty of five counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years by a judge at Swindon Crown Court.

Thomas was also found not guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

'Sexual gratification'

The secondary school teacher also pleaded guilty to an eighth count of possessing an indecent photograph of a child at his trial in May.

Jailing Thomas, Judge Mousley said: "You were motivated by your desire for sexual gratification.

"These girls have all been affected in some way."

The court heard Thomas had started sending messages in 2010 to a 17-year-old girl on Facebook but the messages quickly became sexually explicit.

One girl was persuaded by the PE and business studies teacher to send him photographs of herself posing in her underwear.

A second teenager sent him a topless image.

Speaking outside court Det Con Angela Spray said Thomas "systematically abused" his position of trust "to prey on vulnerable, underage children for his own sexual gratification".

"Thomas groomed his victims and encouraged them to engage in sexual acts after gaining their confidence and trust.

"He has refused to take any responsibility for his actions and has forced his victims to relive their suffering and give evidence in court."

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