Ex-headteacher jailed for having child porn images

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A RETIRED Sheffield headteacher has been jailed for nine months for downloading and possessing child pornography after being described as “devious” by a judge who let him off part of an earlier sentence.

Colin Wilmshurst, who taught for 23 years at Westbourne School in Broomhill and was headteacher for 19, was saved from prison in 2008 by testimonials from former pupils and their parents.

He appeared before the same judge after admitting new charges and his barrister asked for a sentence that would allow Wilmshurst to keep his liberty.

But the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said: “Having experience of your devious behaviour doesn’t fill me with great confidence that you would necessary comply with such an order.”

Wilmshurst retired from Westbourne in 2004 and moved to North Yorkshire.

He could have faced a prison sentence after previously admitting five charges of possessing child pornography videos, but was given a three-year community order with a sex offenders’ treatment programme as a result of the testimonials and after the court was told there was “no hint of sexual impropriety” in relation to the children who had been in his care over the years.

In August 2010, a probation officer successfully applied for the community order to end early with a report saying Wilmshurst had come to terms with the past that led to his interest in child pornography and he was unlikely to reoffend.

But at York Crown Court, Wilmshurst pleaded guilty to four charges of downloading child pornography, one of possessing child pornography and one of possessing prohibited pornographic drawings of children between March and August 2010.

In addition to the prison sentence, Wilmshurst, now aged 71, of Pickering, was given a ten-year sexual offences prevention order, which prevents him using the internet unless he uses a computer with specially installed software that will automatically notify the police if he accesses child pornographic websites.

He will also be on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

His barrister, Taryn Turner, said Wilmshurst was using the child pornography to research a book which would help him deal with being abused as a child at a private school.

The court heard there was no evidence Wilmshurst had ever himself sexually abused any child in his care.