November 2017

Convicted child rapist who moved near Coundon primary school 

An already convicted child rapist who went to live near a primary school on his release from prison was found with downloaded images of youngsters being sexually abused on a computer.

Edward Wheller, previously from Buckinghamshire, was released on licence midway through a 12-year sentence in April 2016, and moved to Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, several months later.

Durham Crown Court heard that of concern was the fact he moved close to the village primary school.

In 2009, the pervert was convicted and jailed for six counts of rape and four of gross indecency against 2 girls.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said as a registered sex offender under licence conditions, he had a monitoring police officer, who paid a routine visit to his home in Jackson Street, in March.

Miss Lamballe said he was “welcomed in a cheery manner” by Wheller, whose demeanour changed when a lap-top computer was seen in use, of which the supervising officer had no previous knowledge.

Miss Lamballe said suspicions were aroused as the computer wallpaper featured an indecent image super-imposed with the face of the actress Emma Watson, who rose to fame as a child star in the Harry Potter film series.

Analysis revealed it contained 253 indecent images of children, three in the most serious category.

Wheller was arrested on October 31 and made full admissions, telling police he had been given the lap-top by a family member last August.

The 68-year-old defendant admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and one of possessing prohibited material.

Ian West, mitigating, said on his arrest, once the contents of his computer were confirmed, Wheller was recalled to serve the rest of his 12-year sentence, which could result in him being behind bars until 2021, regardless of the sentence for the latest conviction

Jailing him for two years and eight months, Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC said within months of his release from prison, on licence, Wheller had gone in search of the material found on his computer, clearly for his own sexual gratification.

As he believes Wheller poses a risk of future offending Record Lumley made him subject of an extended six-year licence period on his eventual release from prison.

He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, indefinitely, while he must also register as sex offender