Ex-teacher jailed over child porn images found on computer at his Ashfield home

A former teacher from Ashfield has launched an appeal over his jail term after police found he had downloaded 117 child porn videos and more than 20,000 photos.

James Cullen was jailed for 10 months - but immediately launched an appeal against the sentence.

James Cullen.

James Cullen.

The 55-year-old was also put on the sex offenders' register after admitting taking the material off the internet for three years at his home on Lewis Crescent, Annesley.

He was also given a five-year sexual harm prevention order to stop a repeat when he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates' Court.

When he initially faced court, a deputy district judge said that "although he was a teacher at the time, this was not committed as part of that employment".

Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, said the downloads were dated between January 2014 and December 2017.

Police officers seized electrical equipment and found 12 videos in category B, the second level of seriousness. They then discovered 95 videos from the third level and 20,182 still photographs.

Mr Pietryka said: "He initially denied the matters in question, blaming the internet.

"He said he made local searches for nudists and naturalists and these images would appear. He accepted downloading images for his sexual gratification."

Sean Conway, mitigating, urged the magistrates to follow a recommendation from a probation officer, which would have seen Cullen attend a course to prevent further offences.

Mr Conway said: "The offences were caused by literally 12 links, clicking 12 times and accessing a large number. That is what happened.

"I am not for a second trying to minimise it, but that is the truth. He accepts he has done wrong.

He resigned from his teaching job before action was taken against him. He also accepted the General Teaching Council would "strike him from the register."

Cullen has since trained as a lorry driver.

Mr Conway said: "There is a level of remorse and a willingness to get to the root cause and find why he finds himself before the court.

"There is a massive taboo to things like this and I don't seek to minimise that taboo.

He said Cullen, who is currently having hospital treatment and is due to have stitches removed after surgery, had never been in trouble before.

Mr Conway urged the magistrates not to impose "the ultimate sanction" of prison so that Cullen can keep working.

After being jailed, an appeal was launched against the sentence and this will be heard at the crown court by a judge and two magistrates.

A bail application was made for Cullen while awaiting this hearing, but it was rejected.

Peter Dexter, presiding magistrate, said: "We have considered this carefully and bail will be refused due to the seriousness of the offending,"