Alleged Abuse Victim Haunted by Face of Coventry Priest for 50 Years

Coventry Telegraph
October 18, 2010

AN ALLEGED victim of an former Coventry priest accused of a string of sex offences against young boys has told a jury he still recognised his attacker's face almost five decades after being abused.

The man, now in his 60s, told jurors at Birmingham Crown Court he had "carried" the face of Richard James Robinson with him since being assaulted as a young child.

He told the court the abuse had taken place in the Aldridge area of the West Midlands when he was just 10 or 11.

The alleged victim told the trial yesterday that Robinson, who denies 22 counts of sexual abuse, had a "boxer's face" which he recognised years later in a media report.

The 22 charges relate to four alleged victims.

It's claimed the incidents of sexual abuse took place between the late 1950s and the mid-80s before and during Robinson's time as a Catholic priest.

The trial was told earlier that the jury would also hear evidence from a further two alleged victims who both contacted West Midlands Police after the former clergyman had been bought back to the UK to face the abuse claims.

Robinson served at a number of churches in the Midlands area during his career, including St Elizabeth's in Foleshill, Coventry during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Last year he was extradited by West Midlands Police from California to face the charges.

Giving evidence in the second week of Robinson's trial, the man explained how he contacted West Midlands Police after seeing coverage of the 73-year-old's extradition from California to the UK last year.

The witness told the jury of five men and seven women: "That was the first time I ever knew his (Robinson's) complete name."

He added: "All my life I have seen his face I have carried it all my life."

During his testimony, the man was asked by prosecutor Mohammad Hafeez if he had any doubts that Robinson was the man who attacked him.

The witness told the court: "My eldest son is in this court.

"I would stake my eldest son's life that it is James Robinson who abused me.

"He's been locked up in my head for 49 years I have no shadow of any doubt."

Robinson, who was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1971, worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry until the mid-1980s, when he moved to California.

He denies all 22 charges of sexual abuse. The trial is due to continue this morning.

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