Preston's College tutor from Freckleton resigned after probe found he downloaded vile movies of children being abused

A former college lecturer used his academic email address to sign up to a file sharing site to download movies of children being abused.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 2:09 pm

It is understood married father-of-three Craig Law, 43, of Astley Crescent, Freckleton, near Preston, was working as a tutor at Preston's College at the time of the offences, and had previously worked as a motor vehicle tutor at Myerscough College.

At one point his workplace was searched during the investigation, with police finding an i-Phone containing indecent movies and images.

Preston Crown Court was told the movies ranged from 30 seconds long to 40 minutes, with both boys and girls involved.

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Preston College

Some were just a few months old, and some featured more than one child or adult involved in the abuse.

The court was told one child was tied up, while another appeared to be "drunk, intoxicated or asleep".

Law admitted three charges of making indecent images.

Claire Brocklebank, prosecuting, said Law had created an account on a file sharing platform site he could access through a mobile phone app.

She added: " He was identified by police because he had used his own IP address and also his academic email address.

"The police attended and seized the devices he had at his home.

"He created an account on July 17, 2019 and used the account to download a large number of images but mainly videos, many of them being images of children.

"When he was arrested at his home he told the police he did use devices to seek adult pornography and in interview maintained that, and said some illegal material might pop up but he hadn't specifically sought it."

A probe found he downloaded 100GB of material in total of which just under 1000MB was illegal material.

The haul included 421 movies and three images deemed category A - the most serious in law - with a further 253 videos and two images at category B and 236 videos and 141 images at category C.

​Read more: Teacher charged with possessing indecent images of children.Defending, Ian Metcalfe said he had been married for 22 years but now lived with his parents.

He revealed he had resigned from the college when the offences came to light and had since lost another job as a mechanic.

He said his mother, father and two work colleagues, Christopher Appleby and Andy Barnes, had written references and letters to the court.

He added: "Plainly today is a day of disgrace for this defendant.

"Prior to the commission of these offences he was a man with no relevant convictions and indeed a man holding down a responsible teaching position at a further education college.

"The material does appear to suggest the defendant had hit something of a downward spiral in his emotional wellbeing in the period before these pernicious offences.

"He had found himself in considerable debt and is now subject to an IVA.

"He found unexpectedly he was facing the prospect of a further child, and he was experiencing problems at work in relation to funding for the work he was attached to.

"Your Honour ought to know he was dealing with students generally over 16 and some at 15 or 14 -there's no suggestion of inappropriate behaviour while at work.

"It's also right the period of activity is relatively short, under two months.

"Having been identified and confronted about what he's done, I'd submit his response has been largely remorseful and positive."

Sentencing him to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Beverly Lunt referred to the letters of support and said: " They, unlike me, did not have to read the description of the vile and abusive images that you downloaded and accessed on your computer. They speak of you in good terms

"Be very clear - these offences were not committed as a result of depression or being in debt. These offences are all about perversion.

"The images depict tiny babies being raped, young children and babies being physically assaulted in the gravest of ways.

"These are not victimless crimes. Each of those is a living victim, a living, breathing victim."

"It's very hard to understand how you could have fallen so far."

He was ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement and Sex Offender's treatment programme and was given a a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

He must sign the Sex Offender's Register for 10 years.

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