Former Lincolnshire teacher who downloaded thousands of child abuse images must stay in jail

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court
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A disgraced former Lincolnshire school teacher who was caught with thousands of child abuse images today failed in a Court of Appeal bid for freedom.

Denis Robert Bresnahan, 68, downloaded the images over five years, including some in the worst categories of abuse of children.

The pervert, of Houghton Court, Billingborough, also distributed illegal pornography to other sex offenders over the internet.

He admitted seven offences involving illegal images and was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Lincoln Crown Court in October last year.

Today, he took his case to London’s Court of Appeal, where his lawyers argued that he should not have been jailed in the first place.

But, rejecting his bid for a suspended sentence, Mr Justice Goss said the “utterly grotesque” offending justified the stern sentence.

He said: “There were aggravating features, namely the number of images and the long period over which they were downloaded, distributed or produced. The images were actively put in places where a high number of internet users could access them.

“Taking account of mitigating features and affording a reduction for the guilty pleas, the sentence was not, in our judgment, manifestly excessive.”

The court heard Bresnahan was caught after a raid on his home in January last year revealed thousands of images on his computer equipment. More than 900 of the images were in the most serious category of abuse, as defined by police experts, the appeal judge said.

Bresnahan admitted what he had done and, before he was sentenced, had already begun treatment for his problems. He lived a law-abiding life otherwise, had been married twice and brought up four children, the court heard.

His lawyers argued today that a suspended sentence would be better than an immediate prison term, as he could seek treatment in the community.

But Mr Justice Goss and two senior colleagues said the two-and-a-half year sentence was justified for seven offences. He said: “Although his behaviour before and since detection has been commendable, the gravity of his offending was such that a custodial sentence of significant length was appropriate.”

The appeal was dismissed.