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Full Report: Vicar sentenced for sex offences

A former Canon at Carlisle Cathedral has been sent to prison for four years after admitting sexual offences against teenage boys. Ron Jons, who's now 75, carried out the offences between 1983 and 1991.

The Church of England has apologised for not reporting the matter to the police when the allegations were brought to the attention of the then Bishop of Carlisle almost 20 years ago.

You can watch the full report from Tim Backshall below.

Church response to former vicar sentencing

A spokesperson for the Diocese, The Venerable Richard Pratt, the Archdeacon of west Cumberland said:

“A prison sentence can never be a matter of pleasure, nor can it put right wrongs that were done, but the sentence given to Ronald Johns today is just and fair and reflects the gravity of his offences.

“We know that those abused can be manipulated by the abuser so that they are the ones who end up feeling guilty, while the abuser attempts to excuse himself. The Diocese of Carlisle therefore hopes that Ronald Johns’ victims will feel that this sentence lays clear the truth: Ronald Johns did wicked things, which were not their fault or responsibility.

“We thank the police for all their work, those who deal with these very painful and stressful sorts of cases deserve our prays and support.

“In case anyone is affected by these matters, we have set up a special helpline with the NSPCC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where independent, confidential and sensitive advice can be sought. The number is: 0808 800 5000 (calls free from UK landlines). The County Council Social Care department can also offer help and advice, their number is 0333 240 1727 Or, of course, people can ring the Police directly on 101.”

– The Venerable Richard Pratt


Police response to vicar sentencing

Cumbria police have responded to the sentencing of a former cannon of Carlisle Cathedral.

Ronald Johns was jailed for four years after admitting sex offences against two boys dating back 20 years.

Temporary Detective Inspector Gary McFadden was the investigating officer he said:

“Today’s court appearance marks the end of a twelve month long police investigation which only began due to the bravery of the victims who had the strength to come forward and report what had happened to them all those years ago. This takes remarkable strength and they have remained our focus throughout the investigation. Many of those victims were in court today to see justice being brought by the sentence which was imposed.

“Johns abused his position of trust to commit heinous crimes against children - and now, almost 20 years on, he has received his punishment.

“Cumbria Police take allegations of sexual offences extremely seriously – no matter when the offences were committed. We would encourage any victims of crime to contact us and we will do all we can to support you and bring offenders to justice.”

– Temporary Detective Inspector Gary McFadden

Former vicar sentenced to four years in prison

Ronald Johns, a former Cannon of Carlisle Cathedral, has been sentenced to four years in prison for sex offences dating back 20 years.

Johns was a high ranking and well respected member of the Church of England in Cumbria but at the same time he was befriending and abusing teenage boys. He's admitted 10 offences against three boys aged 14 to 17 between 1983 and 1991. They include gross indecency and indecent assault.


Vicar sentencing for sex offences

Ronald Johns Credit: ITV Border

A former cannon of Carlisle Cathedral will be sentenced at carlisle crown court for a string of sex offences against boys dating back 20 years.

75 year old Ronald Johns pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to assaulting three teenage boys between 1993 and 1991.

The church was made aware of the allegations in 1993 but instead of reporting them to the authorities the then Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend Ian Harland, moved Johns to a parish in Caldbeck.

The church has apologised 'unreservedly'.

Soldier pleads guilty to gun offences

A soldier who was caught with a hold-all full of guns after he got off a train at Carlisle station has been warned he faces an inevitable prison sentence.

28-year-old William Dempsey was arrested wearing army combat uniform near the station on Friday August 21.

Dempsey is based in Canterbury with the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland,

At Carlisle Crown Court he pleaded guilty to seven firearms offences including unlawfully possessing a shotgun, an Uzi sub-machine gun and a pistol.

He was remanded in custody until December 18 for background reports.The judge, the Hon Mr Justice Singh, said that under the government's statutory minimum sentence provisions a jail sentence would be inevitable.

Two jailed for burglary of 77 year old.

Two men have been sentenced for more than 10 years at Carlisle Crown Court for burglary of a 77 year old deaf woman in her home.

Bryan Dance, aged 49, originally from Carlisle but living at Sherwood Avenue, Nottingham pleaded not guilty and his son Steven Dance, aged 25, from Borland Avenue, Botcherby pleaded guilty. Both men were found guilty of the burglary and sentenced to six years and four and a half years respectively.

Bryan Dance Credit: Cumbria Police
Steven Dance Credit: Cumbria Police

It happened 22nd May 2012, when police were contacted by an employee of Deaf Vision on behalf of the woman. The victim has been deaf from birth and is limited in her communication skills. After the lighting system told her someone was at the door she went to see who it was.

Two men were stood there and she indicated that she was unable to hear them, but understood that they were there to sell her items. She let the men into her home made them cups of tea and bought £20 worth of items. When she came back after making more tea they had left and had taken £150.

Detective Constable Chris Hind said: “This was an appalling crime against a vulnerable, elderly, lady. These two men quickly recognised how vulnerable this person was and stolen from her, in total they were in her home for about 10 minutes.

"Not only were they able to quickly search other rooms and steal money which she had been keeping aside for her trip to the bingo but took back the items that they had sold to her. The sentence given today reflects the dreadful nature of this crime.

“I would like to that this opportunity to thank the victims care workers and interpreter at Deaf vision, who provided essential support to the victim.

“We continue to advise everyone to be careful who they let into their homes, don’t be fooled into thinking that just because someone has identification that they are from where they say. If you are uncertain, [telephone and] check with the company, otherwise don’t let them in and shut the door.”

If you are aware of any suspicious callers in your area or wish to speak to an officer about safety advice, ring Cumbria Constabulary on 101.

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