A primary school teacher shopped to the police for child and animal porn offences by his wife hung his head as he was sentenced to six months in prison this afternoon.

Simon Clannachan, 40, of Richmond Park Avenue, admitted 21 counts relating to making indecent images of children and possessing extreme animal pornography when he appeared before Bournemouth Crown Court earlier this month.

The Kingsleigh Primary School teacher, who was suspended when the offences came to light and handed in his resignation in June, was caught when his wife spotted images of children in their underwear on the family computer. She called a friend, who advised her to call the police. Later, she discovered a disc with more serious images on it.

She consulted an IT professional who confirmed that the files were suspicious, and the content made him "feel sick".

She then took the computer to the police.

Clannachan, described as a "perfectly respectable member of staff" by colleagues, was found to have searched for "pre-teens", although he initially told police the images had "piggy-backed" onto legitimate downloads.

He also admitted searching for images under "Lolita" and "young model", but says he expected to find 18-year-olds in bikinis.

Seven of the charges relate to animal pornography, with the rest concerning 236 images of children of varying levels of severity.

Images are graded from one to five with five being the most serious.

Clannachan was found to have 213 stills at level one, nine stills at level two, six stills and one moving image at level three, six stills and one moving image at level four, and 101 stills and 12 moving images at level seven, which relates to animal pornography.

None of the images are of children taught by him, and there is no evidence that he behaved inappropriately with students, Sentencing, Judge Peter Johnson said Clannachan had "harboured a dark secret".

"You were a successful teacher - you have lost your family, you have lost your job," he said, adding that the defendant had led a "double life".

Kevin Hill, defending, said his client's life had been left in "ruins".

"He is utterly devastated to have found himself in court for these abhorrent offences," he said.

"He is adamant he was not motivated by sexual attraction to children."

But Judge Johnson said he disagreed.

He added: "For many years you have been addicted to, or keenly interested in, pornography.

"Over part of the last four years or so you started to have an interest in child pornography, and that is where your problems started."

Clannachan, who looked as if he might faint when the sentence was read out, has a "hitherto unblemished record", the judge said. Kevin Hill, defending, said Clannachan using pornography and alcohol as a "sort if escapism".

Mr Hill told the judge "He needs help. He wants help."

Richard Gower, Head Teacher of Kingsleigh Primary School said:

"Our school accepts the six-month sentence that has been given. This brings closure of the matter and allows everyone in our school community to continue to move on. We have much to be proud of at Kingsleigh and look forward to staff and pupils returning in September.”