A former Black Country magistrate and Ofsted inspector has been jailed for two years after he was caught in a covert police operation set up to trap internet paedophiles.
Ian Knight 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 as a schools inspector, 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 court was told police set up a website pretending to belong to a young girl called Katie. Knight was arrested after he made contact with the site 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 Miss Thompson.
Knight had trained “high-flying teachers” and he started using internet chatrooms when he had “time on his hands” from his 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, now working for Virgin Trains, had lost everything, said Miss Thompson, and he was also in danger of losing his home.
The judge further ruled Knight should register as a sex offender for 10 years and he barred him from ever working with children.
He told Knight, who showed no reaction as he was sentenced, his actions towards his victims had been “close to grooming”, which was a cause for major concern.