A FORMER Roman Catholic priest from Fenland is facing jail after admitting making and possessing child pornography.

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John Terence Paul Shannon, 58, of The Elms, Chatteris appeared at Durham Crown Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to 16 counts of making indecent photographs of a child and one charge of possessing an unconfirmed number of indecent images of children.

Shannon was suspended from his duties as a lecturer at the 200-year-old St Cuthbert’s Seminary, at Ushaw College, near Esh, County Durham, in June.

Shannon, who was also a priest at the Diocese of East Anglia, has since resigned from the establishment, which is the Roman Catholic training centre for priests in the North of England.

His offences were committed in Esh and relate to the period from November, last year, to June 16, this year.

The severity of the indecent images range from level one to level four.

Shannon was arrested after information was passed onto Durham Police by the seminary and charged on August 6. He has also been withdrawn from the ministry.

Judge Christopher Prince requested the preparation of pre-sentence reports by the Probation Service before passing sentence.

Adjourning yesterday’s case, Judge Prince told the defendant he would be given credit for his early guilty plea.

But Judge Prince warned: “You know that you must expect a custodial sentence, so I suggest you put your affairs in order before your next court appearance.

“Your name will now be entered onto the sex offenders register. How long your name will remain there depends on the outcome of the report.”

Shannon was released on unconditional bail and will reappear at the crown court for sentencing on January 14.

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