Teacher Tells Court That Child Porn Images Were Part Of School Project

PUBLISHED: 17:39 15 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

AN assistant principal from Ely who is accused of downloading child pornography onto his work laptop claimed he viewed the images as part of a school project on gay awareness , a court has heard. Matthew Underwood, 38, denies 15 counts of making indecen

AN assistant principal from Ely who is accused of downloading child pornography onto his work laptop claimed he viewed the images as part of a school project on 'gay awareness', a court has heard.

Matthew Underwood, 38, denies 15 counts of making indecent images and three counts of possessing indecent images on his school laptop.

Police found a total of 170 indecent images on the laptop and a stash of Japanese child porn magazines and DVDs bought from the Japanese Amazon website in a suitcase at the teacher's home in New Barns Avenue.

Underwood, a history teacher at Impington Village College, Impington, aroused suspicion after refusing to hand his work laptop over to IT staff who had asked to check the anti-virus software.

When he took his laptop to IT staff a few hours later, the technicians discovered he had deleted the Internet browsing history. They called police who promptly searched his home and classroom.

Underwood, who had taught at the college since 1999, was arrested on child porn charges and suspended from work on December 18, 2007.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges at Cambridge Crown Court. The first 15 counts relate to images downloaded between November 16 and December 7, 2007.

Mike Magee, prosecuting, said Underwood accepted in police interview that he had downloaded the illegal images and purchased the seven magazines and five DVDs on Amazon, in Japan.

But he claimed the images were downloaded as part of a project to raise gay awareness using 'Japanese kitsch' - pictures of teenagers in provocative poses.

Mr Magee said: ''Underwood claimed he was the teacher responsible for gay awareness at school and as part of that was doing work on gay kitsch.''

Underwood told police he believed the images were of teens aged 14-19 and that he had informed his head teacher about the nature of his gay kitsch project, the jury heard.

When quizzed on why he deleted his Internet browsing history Underwood told police he did not want his privacy invaded.

Impington College has 1330 pupils aged 11 to 18.

The trial continues.

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