Catholic priest from Bideford jailed for sexually abusing six children

Francis McDermott from Bideford was convicted of 18 counts of historical child abuse. Credit: South Beds News Agency

A Catholic priest from Bideford in Devon has been jailed for nine years and 11 months after abusing six children in the 1970s, leaving one of his victims "in fractured pieces".

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that 75-year-old Francis McDermott abused the boys and girls, some as young as 10, in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe between 1971 and 1978.

One victim said he had a "devastating impact" on her life, adding: "I look in the mirror and see myself in fractured pieces."

Her message to McDermott was, "I hate you. There is no one to blame but you".

The court heard that the offences were reported to the church on two separate occasions but were not passed onto police after McDermott denied the allegations..

In sentencing, Judge Catherine Tulk told McDermott "You abused the trust of those six children and their parents in a callous fashion."

McDermott was found guilty of 18 counts of historic child sex offences. He must register as a sex offender for life.

Police have thanked the victims for coming forward.