Eastbourne paedophile priest jailed for eight years

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Paedophile priest Robert Coles has been jailed for eight years.

Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, appeared at Brighton Crown Court yesterday (Thursday) and was sentenced to a total of eight years for sexual offences against young boys.

At a hearing on December 14 last year at Chichester Crown Court, Coles had pleaded guilty to 11 offences.

These included one offence of buggery and seven indecent assaults against three victims back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Coles was a priest at churches in Chichester and Horsham and at St Philip’s in Eastbourne at the time.

At Thursday’s hearing, prosecutor Ryan Richter advised the court that after consideration, including consultation with Sussex Police and the three victims, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to proceed with seven outstanding charges.

There were other offences of buggery and indecent assault which Cole was due to stand trial for on June 10.

However, this will now not take place after His Honour Judge Anthony directed that those seven charges would lay on the court file.

Mr Ritcher said, “In 1993 following a suicide attempt, a partial admission of what had happened was made by one of the victims .

“In 1997 when he felt stronger a formal complaint was made to Sussex Police.”

The court heard acting archbishop Reverend Nicholas Reade raised the matter with Bishop Wallace Benn who launched an investigation.

Brian Shaw, defending, said Coles’ family had ‘disowned’ him.

Coles was sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment for the 11 offences to which he had pleaded guilty in December.

Coles was also served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) prohibiting him from any contact with the victims, from having any unsupervised contact with boys under 16 and from seeking any employment or voluntary work which would involve unsupervised access to children under 16.

He was also required to register as a sex offender for life on his release from prison.

Judge Guy Anthony said, “You were ordained clergyman and priest and you insinuated into the good grace of your victims and your families.

“In a less cynical age no one seems to have suspected you were anything other than the local priest interested in their well-being.

“In modern parlance you groomed your victims. They will no doubt have long lived and permanent scars.”

Judge Anthony said Coles had ‘abused his position of trust as a local vicar’.

This marks the end of a longinvestigation by police. He had been arrested on March 6 last year following a six-month enquiry by Sussex Police and was charged in August 2012 on the authority of the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service with whom Sussex Police worked very closely in this investigation and prosecution.

None of the charges related to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.

Detective Inspector Jez Prior of Sussex Police said, “We admire the courage of the victims in coming forward and being prepared to give evidence against Coles.

“We continue to encourage people wishing to report offences to contact us, regardless of how along ago alleged offending took place.

“You can talk to experienced detectives in confidence and we can help you access a range of counselling and other support services.

“In carrying out this investigation we also received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester.”

Paedophile priest jailed

Paedophile priest Robert Coles has been jailed for eight years.

Coles, 71, of Upperton Road, Eastbourne, appeared at Brighton Crown Court today (February 14) and was sentenced to a total of eight years for sexual offences against young boys.

At a hearing on December 14 last year at Chichester Crown Court, Coles had pleaded guilty to 11 offences. These included one offence of buggery and seven indecent assaults against three victims back in the 70s and 80s.

At today’s hearing, prosecutor Ryan Richter advised the court that after consideration, including consultation with Sussex Police and the three victims, the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to proceed with seven outstanding charges.

There were other offences of buggery and indecent assault which Cole was due to stand trial for on June 10. However, this will now not take place after His Honour Judge Anthony directed that those seven charges would lay on the court file.

Coles was sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment today for the 11 offences to which he had pleaded guilty in December.

Coles was also served with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) prohibiting him from any contact with the victims, from having any unsupervised contact with boys under 16 and from seeking any employment or voluntary work which would involve unsupervised access to children under 16. He was also required to register as a sex offender for life on his release from prison.

He had been arrested on March 6 last year following a six month enquiry by Sussex Police and was charged in August 2012 on the authority of the South East Complex Case Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service with whom Sussex Police worked very closely in this investigation and prosecution.

None of the charges related to any allegations of recent or current offending and police emphasise that there is nothing to suggest that any children are currently at risk.

Detective Inspector Jez Prior of Sussex Police said, “We admire the courage of the victims in coming forward and being prepared to give evidence against Coles. We continue to encourage people wishing to report offences to contact us, regardless of how along ago alleged offending took place.

“You can talk to experienced detectives in confidence and we can help you access a range of counselling and other support services.

“In carrying out this investigation we also received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester.”