Devon

Devon teacher found with child abuse images

Torquay Girls Grammar School sign Image copyright Google
Image caption Torquay Girls Grammar School is one of the best rated schools in the South West

A teacher at a girls' grammar school was caught with hundreds of child abuse images on his computers.

Paul Wheller, 48, was arrested while teaching at Torquay Girls' Grammar School, Devon.

The teacher admitted three counts of making indecent images of children when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.

He was ordered to do a sex offenders treatment programme involving 45 days of rehabilitation activities during a three-year community order.

He told police: "Oh God, my life is over. I'm a disgusting person."

Images of children

Wheller was traced through a chat site where he had exchanged sexual messages about children and been sent images of toddlers as young as 18 months being abused.

He had 186 images or videos of children aged between 18 months and 16 years old, including nine which fell into the worst category.

The geography teacher was sacked on the day of his arrest on 20 November, 2017, and has been banned from teaching because he is on the Disclosure and Barring Service blacklist and the sex offenders register.

Judge David Evans said Wheller had shown a good prospect for rehabilitation because he had used the time since his arrest to attend counselling and online courses.

He will be on the sex offenders register for five years and was given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, which will enable police to monitor his future use of the internet.

The former Bovey Tracey resident, who now lives in Islington, north London, told the police he felt it had become an addiction and he had entered a downward spiral after the deaths of two family members.

He denied having any sexual attraction to "real" children and said he would never harm a child.

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