Jailed teacher told his sentence is 'fully justified'

5:20pm Monday 3rd March 2014

By Court reporter

A FORMER teacher and scout leader from Weaverham – jailed after two men revealed he committed a catalogue of terrible child sex crimes over three decades – has been told he deserves every day of his prison sentence.

David Fearnley, 61, of Lime Avenue, was jailed for nine years and two months at Warrington Crown Court in July 2013 for 27 offences involving children and child pornography.

He appealed last week, but top judges Lady Justice Sharp, Mr Justice Sweeney and Judge Stephen Kramer QC dismissed his complaints in London, saying the sentence was fully justified.

Mr Justice Sweeney told the court that Fearnley’s offending came to light many years after it began when he was a scout master in his 30s.

Over a period of time, he groomed a boy of 13-15 years of age for sexual activity, touching his private parts while play-fighting and exposing himself .

Another victim told of horrific abuse which took place 20 years later, by which time Fearnley had become a respected school teacher.

Again, he groomed the youngster when he was aged between 12 and 15 and conned him into thinking what they were doing was normal.

On frequent occasions, he had oral and full sex with the boy.

“Both victims have suffered long-lasting harm as a result of the appellant's offences against them,” said the judge.

When police finally came to know about the abuse, they arrested him and found images of child pornography on his computer equipment.

Lawyers for Fearnley today argued that the sentence was too long, but saw their case rejected by the judges.

Mr Justice Sweeney continued: “Both sets of offences involved determined grooming and a very substantial age gap.

“The overall sentence imposed was well within the appropriate range, albeit high up in it.

“In those circumstances, it seems to us that there is no arguable merit in the grounds advanced.”

The appeal was dismissed.

Fearnley had admitted seven child porn offences and numerous indecent assaults.

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