A TEACHER 'abused his position of trust' by committing fraud while he was vice principal at a school, a court heard.

But father-of-three Stephen Morris is now hoping to restart his teaching career after he avoided jail due to a raft of mitigating circumstances.

Morris held the senior position at William Henry Smith School on Booth Royd Lane in Brighouse, but resigned before an internal investigation could take place, the court was told.

The school works with pupils aged 5 to 19 across a broad spectrum of social, emotional and mental health challenges.

The 51-year-old, who wore a suit and purple tie in the hearing at Bradford Magistrates Court on Tuesday, admitted to fraud by false representation.

The district judge told Morris you have "abused your position of trust" and damaged the reputation of "hard-working people due to your dishonest actions".

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford magistrate's courtMorris, of St Johns Road in Lostock, Bolton, submitted the invoices, to a total value of £1,200, under a woman he said was hired to work at school conferences.

The three invoices - worth £600, £450, and £150 - were taken between January 31 and September 10 of 2022.

The court heard how the invoices had to be countersigned and Morris intimidated other staff into authorising them with his persistence.

Concerns were first raised when he asked for them to be processed quickly with same-day payment.

Morris resigned before an internal investigation took place and the report went to the police.

The prosecution told the court that the woman, whose name was used, was unaware of Morris' actions.

His defence team said he was "deeply remorseful" for his actions.

A probation officer outlined that Morris' actions were always intended to be a "short-term fix" with him intending to pay the money back.

During their interview at the court, he expressed a "great deal of shame and remorse" after making a "horrendous decision". 

Morris lost the "job he loved" and has "potentially lost his career in senior roles".

The officer went on to say that Morris has been with his current partner for seven years and volunteers in the community.

In July 2022, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer and went on to undergo chemotherapy. 

Morris was given the all-clear, the day after his now 11-month-old daughter was born.

He was declared fit to work again last May and took on a six-month contract in sales.

The officer said Morris is hoping to restart a career as a supply teacher in the future.

Morris's defence said he had been through a "bad two years".

He suffered a mental breakdown in January 2021 due to work exhaustion.

They added that he had made a "very poor decision" when he was in a "bad position both mentally and financially".

Morris pleaded guilty at first opportunity and had no relevant history of convictions.

His defence counsel added Morris' "life would spiral out of control if given custody".

The district judge was "just persuaded" not to send Morris to immediate custody given he was no risk to the public and a primary carer to his young child.

Morris received a sentence of 16 weeks in custody which was suspended for 12 months.

He must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Morris will pay £1,200 in compensation to the school at a rate of £50 per month from March 1.