Dead rotting kitten found at home of vicar guilty of possessing 22,000 indecent images of children

The Reverend David Renshaw will be sentenced on 13 March 2023. Credit: Sussex Police

A vicar from Sussex found with more than 22,000 indecent images of children on his computer has been told to expect a lengthy jail term after a jury found him guilty of online offences.

The Reverend David Renshaw was the vicar of Holy Trinity and Christ Church in Worthing.

He was found guilty of eight offences, consisting of three counts of possessing indecent images of children; three counts of making indecent images of children; possessing prohibited images of children; and possessing extreme pornographic images portraying acts of intercourse with animals, namely dogs and horses.

The 63-year-old, of Wallace Avenue, Worthing, came to the attention of authorities in June 2019 after an illegal image was identified on a file-sharing website in New Zealand.

The account was attributed to Renshaw via his email address and IP address, so officials alerted the National Crime Agency, who in turn alerted Sussex Police.

Police seized a number of devices after executing a search warrant at his home in August 2020.

A total of 22,504 illegal images were discovered.

The RSPCA also seized a number of dogs, cats and chickens that were found in a severely malnourished state.

Renshaw has been bailed until sentencing on 13 March.

Police say throughout the investigation, David Renshaw has sought to blame anyone but himself. Credit: ITV Meridian

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant David Rose, said: “Throughout this investigation, Renshaw has sought to blame anyone but himself.

"He has failed to accept or take any responsibility for his actions, which I am certain the local parish he represented would be appalled by.

“Through painstaking and careful enquiries, we were able to show that the child abuse images were on his computer, saved under his username and found on a hard drive on his desk.

"The sheer number of images indicates that they were accumulated over a protracted period of time.

“The search of his address was one of the most revolting tasks our officers will ever have to endure.

The Reverend David Renshaw was the vicar of Holy Trinity and Christ Church in Worthing. Credit: ITV Meridian

"As well as malnourished living animals, there was also a dead rotting kitten and a dead rotting rat on the floor, in addition to used needles and other drug paraphernalia lying around. It was a deeply unpleasant scene to search.

“It was also a particularly harrowing experience for the officer who had to sift through and grade each image, something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

“I am grateful to our partner agencies for their support, and to the Diocese of Chichester for their full cooperation throughout the investigation.

“All necessary safeguarding enquiries were carried out and there was no risk to any identifiable children in the case.”

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