October 2018

Sex offender deleted gay dating app

Matthew Settle

A sex offender claimed he deleted his internet browsing history because he was embarrassed to have been viewing a gay dating site.

Three years ago Matthew Settle, a former teaching assistant at Castlebrook High School was convicted of attempting to groom a 13-year-old pupil and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

But Blackburn magistrates heard he was unsure about his sexual orientation and his embarrassment lead to his arrest by officers from the sexual offences management unit within days of him returning from six months abroad.

Settle, 29, of Granville Gardens, Accrington, has now pleaded guilty to breaching a sexual harm prevention order. He is due to be sentenced on November 13.

Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said when he returned from abroad he made his phone available to the officers who spotted that he had been using Tinder and Grindr but the applications had been deleted.

“He said he had deleted them the day before the visit because he was embarrassed about the content,” said Miss Akhtar.

Paul Huxley, defending, said his client was aware it was a serious matter but it was not a sinister one.“By deleting the apps he deleted the search history and that is what concerned the police,” he said

.He said when Settle returned from working in Greece for the Summer season he reported to the police as required and registered his mobile phone.

“When they looked through his photo gallery they found a screen shot of a male from Grinder which is a gay dating web site,” said Mr Huxley.

“That alerted the police to the fact he had used the app.

“He thinks he is bi-sexual but he is not 100 per cent sure,” said Mr Huxley. “He has been embarrassed and he knew that having certain gay apps on his phone will draw more attention to that.”

October 2015

Teaching assistant posed as teen on Facebook in order to groom vulnerable 13-year-old boy

settle

A trusted teaching assistant set up false Facebook accounts to pose as a teenager and groom a vulnerable 13-year-old boy.

Matthew Settle, 26, also downloaded a sickening home library of indecent images of children.

Settle, who worked as a special support assistant at Castlebrook High School in Unsworth, Bury, since 2010, created bogus Facebook accounts in the names of ‘James’ and ‘Matthew’ then sent a friend request to the victim.

He posed as an 18-year-old boy on the James account and as a 13-year-old boy on the Matthew account.

The young victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, believed he was exchanging messages with the 13-year-old.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the shamed classroom assistant ‘begged’ him to send him an indecent image of himself.

Gavin Howie, prosecuting, said the offences came to light last July after a member of the victim’s family saw a Facebook page which had been left open on they boy’s computer then made contact with Settle via the fake Matthew persona.

Police were then alerted.

In a raid at Settle’s home, a total of 6,293 child abuse images which had been downloaded from the internet were discovered – including one video. Of them, 166 were classed as being at the highest level of seriousness.

Settle, of Sunnybank Road, Bury, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a person in a position of trust and six counts of making or possessing indecent images.

He was jailed for 18 months today and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, alongside a five-year sexual harm prevention order. Iain Simkin, defending Settle, said he felt a sense of shame and had no previous convictions.

However, Judge Graeme Smith told Settle: “You have pleaded guilty to offences which would horrify most right-thinking people. The victim of this offence had a certain level of vulnerability.

“He was essentially groomed by you because he was led to believe that he was communicating with two separate people, one of whom he thought was his own age.”

Settle was immediately suspended then resigned earlier this year and has been referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

August 2015

Teaching assistant guilty of grooming 13-year-old male pupil

A TEACHING assistant has been told he ‘could face jail’ after he admitted attempting grooming a 13-year-old male pupil

Matthew Settle worked as a special support assistant at Castlebrook High School in Unsworth until he resigned in June.

Earlier this year, police searched the 26-year-old’s home in Sunnybank Road, Bury, and took away his computer for investigation.

They found 6,293 images of child abuse

Police investigating such cases put photographs into categories A, B and C, with category A being the most serious category.

Of the photographs under examination, 165 fall under category A, 239 in category B and 5,889 in category C.

A more detailed search of his computer found conversations between Settle and a 13-year-old Castlebrook pupil.

It later emerged that Settle had set up a fake Facebook profile and posed as a boy.

Settle then sent indecent images of a young boy and a girl to his victim, claiming they were of him and his sister in an attempt to persuade him to respond in kind.

Settle appeared at Bolton Crown Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to inciting a 13-year-old boy to engage in sexual activity and, in doing so, abusing a position of trust and to making an indecent image.

Both charges were dated July 1, 2014.

Settle also pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing child abuse images.

The court heard that police are now investigating a “possible second victim”.

Settle was remanded in custody and a pre-sentence report will now be drawn up before a sentencing hearing on October 5.

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