Phillip Schofield's brother Timothy jailed for 12 years for sexual abuse of child

  • Watch Robert Murphy outside Bristol Crown Court following the sentencing

The brother of TV presenter Phillip Schofield has been jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing a boy.

Timothy Schofield was found guilty in April of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child.

Schofield, a former civilian police worker from Bath, told the jury while giving evidence that he had watched pornography with the boy who he insisted was over the age of 16 at the time.

He claimed they had masturbated while sitting apart and denied performing sexual acts on the teenager.

However, the jury found Timothy Schofield guilty on all counts with a majority of 10-2 after more than five hours of deliberation.

Avon and Somerset Police later dismissed Schofield, who had been suspended from his job at the force’s headquarters in Portishead after being arrested and charged, without notice.

'You exploited his innocence for your own sexual gratification'

Mrs Justice Cutts, sentencing Schofield at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, told him: “You exploited his innocence at this stage of his life for your own sexual gratification.

“It was wrong on every level for you to behave as you did.

“He felt forced to do what you wanted, trapped and unable to escape. He felt he couldn’t tell anyone and did not do so for many years.

“You took away his ability to be the teenager he should have been – carefree, relaxed, happy. It is clear to me that you became utterly obsessed with him.”

The judge commended the courage of the boy for reporting the abuse.

'It was only after Tim was arrested that I felt free'

In a victim personal statement read to the court by Robin Shellard, prosecuting, the boy said he felt “numb to life” following the abuse.

He said: “Before Tim was arrested, I felt I had no freedom. I often felt panic, stress and fear. I felt like I was trapped in a loop of fear and anxiety of the abuse happening again.

“It was only after Tim was arrested that I felt safe. It was only after Tim was arrested that I felt free – free to be me, free to be happy, free to be relaxed.”

The boy added: “I feel more blunt, I feel more bitter, I feel numb to life. I know I should feel really happy or really sad but I don’t have the ability to emotionally react to what is happening.”

'As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother'

Timothy Schofield was sentenced to twelve years in prison at Bristol Crown Court on 19 May. Credit: Elizabeth Cook

Representing Timothy Schofield, Peter Binder said his client had no previous convictions and had mental health issues.

“To his eternal shame, he completely lost any semblance of a moral compass,” Mr Binder told the court.

“Described by his closest friend as a broken man following his arrest, the signs are he was really broken long before that.”

During the trial, jurors heard that Schofield told his elder brother Phillip in September 2021 that he and the complainant had watched pornography together.

In a statement released by his lawyer after the guilty verdict, the ITV This Morning host said: “My overwhelming concern is and has always been for the wellbeing of the victim and his family. I hope that their privacy will now be respected.

“If any crime had ever been confessed to me by my brother, I would have acted immediately to protect the victim and their family.

“These are despicable crimes, and I welcome the guilty verdicts. As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”

Timothy Schofield was convicted of three counts of causing a child to watch sexual activity, three of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.

Detective Inspector Keith Smith of Avon and Somerset Police outside Bristol Crown Court following the sentencing Credit: PA

Avon and Somerset Police Detective Inspector Keith Smith described Timothy Schofield's offences as "sickening" and said the force is now on a "mission to root out all those who betray standards".

He said the boy abused by Timothy Schofield showed "remarkable bravery" and he hoped this would encourage other victims of sexual offences to come forward.

“Although the offences Timothy Schofield committed were not connected to his employment, we know the fact he was a member of police staff will be of great concern to the public,” he said, following the hearing.

“It’s important to stress that before the allegations were made to the police in December 2021, there were no prior complaints or allegations made about this defendant, and his former colleagues have been horrified by the offences he’s now been convicted of.

“But, we want to be absolutely clear, we’re on a mission to root out all those who betray the standards and values we’re committed to uphold.

“The public must be able to trust police officers and staff, and protecting this bond of trust is our priority.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, help and advice is available here:

Following the sentencing, a spokesperson for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said: "Child sexual abuse can have a devastating and long lasting impact on a person’s life.

"The victim in this case has shown real courage in coming forward to report what happened and giving evidence in court, and we hope he is receiving all the support he needs to help him move on with his life.

“It is vital that anyone who has been sexually abused, either recently or in the past, knows that there are always people ready to listen and help.

"Childline is available 24/7 for any young person with concerns and our NSPCC helpline is there for adults with worries about the safety or wellbeing of a child.”