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96-year-old priest jailed again after more child abuse allegations come to light

A former Catholic priest from Bolton has been convicted of a string of additional sex offences against children, some three years after his original trial. John Murphy, 96, was sentenced to six years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting to 32 offences including indecent assault. 

Prosecutor Arthur Gibson said that five of the clergyman's victims came forward after reading newspaper reports about his crimes following the first trial. Gibson described Murphy as a "predatory paedophile who used his position as a Catholic priest to groom and subsequently abuse at least ten children". 

Judge Anil Murray, who jailed Murphy for three years in December 2017 for previous offences, told the defendant: “Your offending has had a devastating impact on your victims for decades and they are still really seriously affected by what you did.”

Murphy was ordained as a priest in 1962 and ministered in a number of parishes across Merseyside, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. His crimes were committed 30 years ago, when he would take his victims for swimming lessons and camping trips, as well as abusing them in their own homes. 

The judge added: “You were a priest at the time and you used your position of standing in society to commit these offences and cover them up…Because of your position in the church you were greatly trusted and respected, possibly revered, and you abused that trust.

"You say you have no memory of these offences. I’m afraid I cannot accept that especially in the light of the evidence of a psychologist who said you do not present with any significant neurological impairment. I cannot therefore accept your expression of remorse as genuine.

"You were effectively living a lie and using your good character and standing in society to commit these offences and got away with it for so long.”

Lee Bonner, defending the priest, said his client was "deeply sorry for the pain, harm and distress his past conduct has caused."

Alongside his prison sentence, Murphy was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

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