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Boarding school priest accused of 'horrific' sex abuse

A Catholic priest who repeatedly sexually abused a teenage student breached his position of trust in a "spectacular and horrific" way, a court has heard.

Father Michael Higginbottom, 74, is accused of subjecting the teenage boy to repeated sexual abuse when he worked as a teacher at St Joseph's College in Upholland, Lancashire, in the late 1970s.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the boy, aged between 13 and 14 at the time of the allegations, said he would be struck with a strap if he did not attend Higginbottom's living quarters, where much of the abuse was alleged to have happened, at appointed times.

The boarding school, which has now closed, was attended by boys aged 11 to 18, many of whom were considering a career in the priesthood.

David Temkin, prosecuting, said the alleged victim had described the school as a "cold, dark and forbidding place".

He added: "He told the police that for him it was the venue for 'mental, physical and sexual abuse'."

The defendant worked at the school as a priest and teacher and was "therefore in a position of trust", Mr Temkin said.

"The prosecution say that he breached that trust in a spectacular and horrific way," he added.

About a week or so after the boy's arrival at the college he was invited into Higginbottom's living quarters where the defendant locked the door and ordered him to undress before sexually assaulting him, the court heard.

Mr Temkin said after the first assault Higginbottom told the teenager things would "get easier" for him at the college.

The victim revealed the allegations to a friend in 2013 and was encouraged to report them to the police.

When interviewed, he was unable to remember how many times he had been sexually abused.

Mr Temkin said: "All that he was able to say to the police was that it happened 'a lot'."

When Higginbottom was arrested at his home in Newcastle in 2015 he told the police the allegations were "total lies" and he could not remember the complainant.

Higginbottom, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, denies four counts of indecent assault and four counts of buggery.

The trial continues.

Gorton man jailed for historic sex abuse

Aubrey Shaw Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A man from Gorton has been jailed for historic sexual abuse of a young girl who was in his care.

82-year-old Aubrey Shaw of Collin Avenue was jailed for 6 years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life at Manchester Crown Court.

Between June 2001 and June 2010, Shaw repeatedly sexually assaulted a young girl when she was in his care. The girl – who was 4-years-old when the abuse began – came forward in 2014 to report the offences to police.

Detective Constable Kate Burrows said:

“Aubrey Shaw was a predator who took advantage of the trust placed in him to look after his young victim. He completely betrayed that trust and spent years abusing this girl."

“I would like to pay tribute to the victim for the courage that she has shown coming forward and I hope this sentence shows that we are prepared to investigate sexual assaults, no matter how much time has passed.”

– Kate Burrows, Detective


17 years for rapist who abused 2 young girls

John Paul Lee Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A man who raped and indecently assaulted 2 young girls has been jailed. John Paul Lee of Lytham Road, Blackpool was found guilty of 9 counts of raping a child and 6 counts of indecently assaulting a child.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday 18 November 2013, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for life. Between about 2002 and 2008, Lee repeatedly sexually abused 2 young girls at an address in Oldham.

Plying the girls with drink and drugs, he would force the youngsters to watch pornography and perform sex acts on him. He also raped and indecently assaulted them. Lee first started abusing the girls when one was just 4 years old and the other 8 years old.

Man jailed for sexually abusing two girls

Christopher Newton Credit: GMP

A man who sexually abused two young girls in Wythenshawe has been jailed.

Christopher Newton of Stoneacre Road, Woodhouse Park was found guilty at Manchester Crown court of seven counts of indecent assault and one count of rape of a child under 13.

Between 1995 and 2003 Newton sexually abused two girls who were just five years old when the abuse began. The abuse took place at an address in the Wythenshawe area of Manchester.

Newton was today jailed for 13 and a half years and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

One of his victims said: “To put in a short amount of words how the abuse has affected me is impossible. I have very few happy memories from the past as the memories of him outweigh anything else.

“I feel a huge weight has been lifted since Chris has been found guilty. Regardless of his sentence given to him, it will always affect my life and be there at the back of my thoughts.

Man bailed in school sex abuse probe

A man arrested in Merseyside by detectives investigating historic sex abuse at children's homes in North Wales has been released on bail.

Police from Operation Pallial - run by the National Crime Agency arrested a 52-year-old man from Mold, North Wales, on suspicion of child cruelty and indecent assault.

The offences, against four boys and one girl, are alleged to have taken place between 1981 and 1988, when they were 13 or 14.

The man was arrested in the St Helens area and was taken to a police station to be interviewed. He has now been released on bail until mid-January.

Thursday's arrest was the 11th in relation to Operation Pallial. One person has been charged.

Sex line set up over school abuse allegations

Police investigating sexual abuse at Terra Nova School near Holmes Chapel in the 1970?s have set up a dedicated line that people who may have information can call.

Keith Cavendish-Coulson, 70, of Berkshire has been charged with 19 counts of indecent assault against boys under 14.

It relates to four victims between 1973 and 1975.He will appear before Chester Crown Court in January 2014.

The investigation is continuing and is focussed upon Cavendish-Coulson?s employment both as a public school teacher, and a private tutor at establishments across the country.

The dedicated number is 01606 362472. Officers say there will be a facility to leave a message and an officer will call you back if your call is not immediately answered.


Ex-teacher charged with sex abuse at Cheshire school

A 70-year-old man has been charged in connection with historic sexual abuse at a private school in Cheshire.

Detectives are investigating alleged sexual abuse at Terra Nova School near Holmes Chapel in the 1970s.

Keith Cavendish-Coulson, from Thatcham, in Berkshire, has been charged with 19 counts of indecent assault against boys under 14, which relate to four victims between 1973 and 1975.

The alleged victims were aged between 9 and 12 years old.

"Cheshire Police take all allegations of sexual abuse seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim to contact police. Specialist trained officers are available to provide support throughout the investigation."

– Police spokesman

Terra Nova's website says the school is a "co-educational independent school" based close to Alderley Edge.

It says its 36 acre location is "rural, but our technology connects children to the world whilst they benefit from a peaceful environment in which to thrive".

Granada Weatherman Fred Talbot released on bail

Fred Talbot Credit: ITV Granada

The Granada presenter Fred Talbot has been released on bail after being questioned over allegations of historic sexual abuse at a school in Greater Manchester.

He was arrested today on suspicion of three counts of indecent assault and four counts of inciting a child to commit acts of gross indecency.

The offences relate to his time as a teacher at Altrincham Grammar School between the early 1970s and early 80s, while the four alleged victims were pupils.

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