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UK News

Priest dies in custody

by Ruth Sax

A Church of England priest and former teacher jailed for sexually abusing two young boys has died in hospital.

The Rev Christopher Howarth, who was an inmate at HMP Lewes, died on Tuesday.

The 72-year-old was convicted in 2015 of 26 offences against the boys who he met through his work at Holy Trinity Church near Uckfield, East Sussex.

The Prison Service said his death would be investigated by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman.

The "appalling abuse" had a "devastating effect" on his victims, the Crown Prosecution Service's Jaswant Narwal said when he was sentenced.

"He was a man they trusted as a lay priest and a former deputy headmaster and he abused that trust in the most appalling way."

Howarth had admitted one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and was convicted of a further seven counts of sexual activity with a child which took place between 2004 and 2012.

He was an unpaid non-stipendiary priest until he was suspended by the Diocese of Chichester in December 2012.

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