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Sheffield Cathedral, Facebook
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Sheffield Cathedral, Facebook
World News

Bishop of Sheffield apologises 'unreservedly' after woman is abused by vicar for almost a decade

by Sophie Drew

The Bishop of Sheffield has apologised to a woman who was beaten by a vicar for nearly a decade. 

The victim - who cannot be named- suffered devastating abuse at the hands of Hilary Alflatt, who was deemed unable to attend the trial.

Jurors heard that much of the abuse instigated by the 87-year-old was suffered within his Sheffield vicarage. 

When alarms were raised within the Church of England, it's believed Alflatt did not deny the claims, and quickly retired. 

The jury ruled that Alflatt committed actual bodily harm when beating his victim with a bamboo stick between 1983 and 1992.

Prosecutor Louise Reevells told the court that Alflatt was "a sadistic man in a position of authority who took pleasure in hurting [his victim]".

Ms Reevells also said: "I am afraid the Church of England just swept it under the carpet and did not want a scandal."

The Bishop of Sheffield has said the matter was one of "deep shame for the Church of England".

Following the trial, Dr Wilcox said: "It is a matter of deep shame that a former priest in the Church of England, serving in this Diocese of Sheffield, has been found by a jury to have committed an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in a pattern of abuse which lasted a decade.

"There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and it is a cause of great regret to us that the matter has only now come to court."

He described Alflatt's actions as a "grievous breach of trust, which almost always, as in this case, causes life-long harm."

"I wish to apologise unreservedly to the survivor of this abuse for what she suffered and to pay tribute to her bravery in coming forward to seek justice," he said.

"We have worked closely with the police and statutory authorities throughout this process and we continue to urge anyone distressed by this news to contact safeguarding@sheffield.anglican.org."
 

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