Mersey Child Porn Vicar Who LED Depraved Double Life Locked up for 12 Months

By by Gary Stewart
Liverpool Echo
January 29, 2014

Rev Ian Hughes leaves Liverpool Crown Court.

Judge tells Rev Ian Hughes his "dark secret" is now out

A gay vicar who  led a “desperate double life” and collected thousands of child porn pictures after struggling with his homosexuality for years was jailed for 12 months.

The Rev Ian Hughes, parish priest of Poulton and Seacombe, in Wirral was arrested after police traced a file of 291 child porn images he had made available for sharing over the internet.

When they raided the vicarage on Brougham Road, Wallasey, in July last year he told them: “It’s a relief in a way. It’s like an addiction.”

Jailing Liverpool Crown Court judge David Aubrey said the 46-year-old had led a double life but his "dark secret was now out".

Jayne Morris, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday that 8,227 images and movies were recovered with more than 800 of the top two categories of seriousness along with two images of bestiality.

Hughes told police he had been attracted to boys since he was a teenager and after becoming a priest aged 21 struggled with his sexuality.

He said he thought of the images as “just a film, it wasn’t real”.

He admitted 16 counts of possessing indecent images of children and a single charge of possessing extreme pornography.

Peter Killen, defending, said: “The defendant’s repression of his sexuality has played a part. It played a part in introducing him to the desperate depraved world of parts of the internet. He began to lead a desperate double life.

“On one  hand  he was a successful parish priest carrying out all the duties expected of him to a very very high standard and to the advantage of hundreds or thousands of people during the time of his tenure in Halton , then Wirral at Seacombe and Poulton.”

Mr Killen added that on  the other hand, alone at night time, he was committing the offences for which he had to be sentenced.

Mr Killen said: “His journey down that arena began as a way of dealing with his own repressed sexuality, attempting to live life as a celibate gay man for very many years.”

Hughes resigned as a priest after being suspended since last summer.

The Bishop of Chester said in a statement: "Ian Hughes' court appearance and sentencing have come as a deep shock to all who know him. His actions have been totally unacceptable for a Christian minister and his case will now be considered by the disciplinary procedures of the Church.

"I would like to express my profound regret, and on behalf of the Church of England, to offer my apologies especially to the parishioners of Poulton and Seacombe in Wallasey. They have been badly let down.

"Fortunately incidents such as this are rare. I hope that it wiull serve as a reminder to all clergy both of the high standards which are rightly expected of Christian ministers and of the new dangers posed by our digital and internet age."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.