A diocese of Chichester vicar who boasted on social media that he was a crystal meth-smoking satanist who enjoyed bestiality and sodomy has been convicted by the Hove Crown Court of possession of child pornograph.
The Rev. David Renshaw was found guilty in February 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,” according to a Sussex Police press statement.
Renshaw was identified by authorities in 2019 after pornographic images he shared were found on a file sharing website in New Zealand. By tracking his IP address the National Crime Agency was able to turn the case over to the Sussex Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team. A search warrant was executed on Renshaw’s residence in August 2020, and 22,504 illegal images were found on his computer. The RSPCA was also called in by police after they found dead, malnourished and abused dogs, cats and chickens at the property.
On social media posts recovered by police, Renshaw wrote of his desire to “sacrifice babies to Satan”, and urged another paedophile to sacrifice his own three-year-old to the Devil.
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 indicate 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. 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.”
Renshaw served as vicar of Holy Trinity and Christ Church in Worth since 2018. A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Chichester said: “This was a very tightly managed case, working in close cooperation with Sussex Police throughout. Mr. Renshaw was suspended at the earliest possible opportunity and remained so throughout the criminal investigation.”
THE National Register of Clergy, which will list the name and ministerial authority of every cleric in the Church of England, was introduced in May 2021. It lists all 20,000 active clergy who hold a permission to officiate in the Church of England. Even though he had been arrested in August 2020, the new register in 2021 listed him as a priest in good standing in the diocese of Chichester.
“It is clear that Mr. Renshaw’s name should not have been added to the National Clergy Register when it was launched,” a diocesan spokesman explained.
“We are referring this to the National Safeguarding Team as a matter of urgency and asked if they can investigate how this happened. At the end of every complex case, a review of lessons learned is common practice and in the Diocese of Chichester we welcome this opportunity to learn,” they said.
Having survived an attempted overdose after his conviction, Renshaw has been remanded in custody ahead of his sentencing.