Abuse priest Alexander Bede Walsh jailed for 22 years

Alexander Bede Walsh
Image caption A jury cleared Alexander Bede Walsh of six charges

A former Roman Catholic priest from Staffordshire has been jailed for 22 years for sexually abusing eight boys.

Alexander Bede Walsh, of Church Lane, Abbots Bromley, carried out the attacks while working at children's homes and churches between the 1970s and 1990s.

Walsh, 58, was found guilty of two serious sexual offences and 19 counts of indecent assault at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

He was convicted of offences against boys aged between eight and 16.

A jury cleared Walsh of six charges.

Sentencing him, Judge Paul Glenn said: "You used God's name as a lever, manipulating God's teaching for your own devices."

He called the former priest "shameless" and said the jury was satisfied he had lied repeatedly to them.

Disposable nappies

Jurors heard the abuse took place in Coventry, Staffordshire and Warwickshire between 1975 and 1993.

The court was told that Walsh made some of his victims dress up in disposable nappies.

Referring to one of the boys who was subjected to a serious sexual assault by Walsh, the judge said that such was his religious conviction, he believed he was being "touched by the hand of God".

The court heard that after that victim was assaulted he went home and tried to hang himself.

Horrendous crimes

Det Con Tim Bailey, from Staffordshire Police, said Walsh had shown "no remorse" throughout the whole investigation and the trial.

"To drag his victims to court to relive those experiences in front of people they don't know is disgraceful," he said.

The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, said after the trial these were "horrendous crimes" and a "most serious betrayal of trust".

"I also want to express my profound sorrow and deep regret to each of the victims," he said.

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