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Teacher 'asked for illicit pics of pupils'

By Claire Hayhurst

A teacher tracked down four pupils on Facebook before bombarding them with messages asking for pictures of them in their underwear, a court heard.

Alexander Thomas (30) allegedly used the social networking site to "gain the trust" of the female students, who studied in the sixth form where he taught.

Swindon Crown Court heard Thomas, of Swindon, Wiltshire, initially sent the girls, aged between 16 and 17 at the time, "innocuous" messages.

But his correspondence became "sexually explicit" and included repeated requests for pictures of their bodies, it is alleged.

Business studies teacher Thomas is accused of meeting two girls, kissing one and touching another in a Jacuzzi.

Thomas denies five counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust and two counts of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust. He also denies possessing an indecent photograph of a child.

Prosecutor Anna Squire told the jury the alleged offences took place between August 31, 2010 and October 12, 2012.

Miss Squire told the jury of seven women and five men: "He was encouraging these girls to behave in a sexual manner towards him. On two of these occasions, actual sexual activity took place."

Thomas was arrested by police after teachers became aware of rumours circulating between pupils.

The trial continues.

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