Lancashire

Upholland school priest sex abuse accuser 'has fraud conviction'

St Joseph's College in Upholland Image copyright Doug Elliot
Image caption The man claims he was abused at the school in Upholland in the 1970s

A man who claimed a priest sexually abused him when he was a pupil at a boarding school has a conviction for fraud, a court has heard.

Michael Higginbottom has been accused of abusing the man while he was a pupil at the now-closed St Joseph's College in Upholland, Lancashire, in the 1970s.

Burnley Crown Court was told the man was "a person who is prepared to lie and to commit fraud to get money".

The 76-year-old, from Newcastle, denies serious sexual and indecent assault.

The jury was told the man had been found guilty of a fraud and had had an appeal against that conviction rejected, with a judge describing him as "not credible".

Asked about the case, the man said he "was not guilty of it then and I am not guilty of it now", adding that he "took a fall for a friend".

Jason Pitter QC, representing Mr Higginbottom, said the man had made up the abuse claims in the hope of getting compensation.

The man said that was "absolutely not" the case, adding that "money never came into this".

"What I want is justice, what I want is the truth," he said.

A second former pupil of St Joseph's has also claimed he was sexually abused by Mr Higginbottom in the mid-1980s.

The defendant, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, denies five counts of serious sexual assault and seven counts of indecent assault.

The trial continues.

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