A WIRRAL vicar faces expulsion from his Church of England post after his secret life of making and possessing indecent images was uncovered.
Reverend Ian Hughes was jailed for 12 months in January after pleading guilty to 15 charges of making indecent images and movies, possessing 8,227 indecent images and extreme pornography.
The disgraced vicar now faces being removed from the church for life as the Diocese of Chester officially launches its church disciplinary procedures against him.
Guidelines under Section 30 of the Clergy Discipline Measure - which considers situations where priests or deacons are given prison sentences or placed on safeguarding lists - give church leaders the power to remove and ban Rev Hughes from office for good.
The 46-year-old, who was priest in charge of Wirral parishes Poulton and Seacombe, pleaded guilty to the offences at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this year.
After Hughes was sentenced, Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, described the actions as “unacceptable”.
He said church disciplinary procedures would be launched and today, a spokesman for the Diocese of Chester confirmed such procedures had begun.
It has taken until now to start as procedures typically begin once criminal cases have concluded and a certificate of conviction has been issued.
The spokesman said: “Our clergy discipline procedure has started with regard to the case of Ian Hughes.”
The procedure will see the relevant Bishop consult with his president of tribunals before informing Rev Hughes of the intended punishment.
Hughes was charged following a search of his home on Brougham Road, Wallasey, in May last year.
Following his arrest, he was suspended by both the Church of England and Park Primary School where he was a governor.