Teacher is suspended 'after being spotted on sex website'

HIS online profile sounded perfectly innocuous: a professional gentleman, into sport, loves music - the sort of thing you would find on any dating website.

• Pictures of teacher Tommy Murphy on the website include one of him shirtless while on holiday

But a Scots teacher's apparent search for amorous fun has landed him in hot water with his local authority following allegations that he was trawling a "dogging" website for sex.

Tommy Murphy, head of the business department at St Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, has now been suspended from his post while an investigation is carried out into "allegations of inappropriate behaviour".

The grey-haired 58-year-old's entry on the dogging.co.uk site - used by people looking for casual sexual encounters - showed that his pupils were seeing only one side of a very complex lifestyle. Listing himself as "Saltcoats-tommy", he describes himself as a "professional gentleman", "fit" but with "work and family commitments".

However, he goes on to say that if interested parties are keen to meet him, "name the time and place and I'll be there. I've also got a wicked imagination if you fancy some erotic e-mail sex." Adding that he was looking for a "straight woman", the teacher lists himself as being interested in a wide spectrum of sexual pursuits.

His entry stated that he was up for meeting anywhere in Scotland but prefers south-west or central Scotland.

Accompanying his apparent profile were alleged to be a series of pictures of the teacher, including what appeared to be a self-portrait in which he was wearing just a pair of black briefs and exposing himself to the camera.

The other images were said to show him posing shirtless on holiday and wearing full Highland dress.

It was unclear yesterday whether or not the profile still remained on the site, which contains thousands of photographs of other users, many of them in explicit poses.

One source at the school said that pupils had been informed of the allegations: "The guy is a teacher and should know better. It wouldn't take much for a pupil to find the site, especially secondary school. The site is really sleazy and I would think education bosses will be pretty angry at him being there.

"The kids were told at an assembly about this and it was suggested he was the victim of a fake site. But that seems to be because it's so embarrassing."

The teacher is listed as living with his partner at the same address in Saltcoats, along with two children aged 20 and 22.Ms Gillespie is reported as saying that she had never heard of the website.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council confirmed that they were investigating allegations in relation to a member of its teaching staff, saying: "A member of North Ayrshire teaching staff has been suspended following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"A full investigation will be carried out and action taken where necessary."