Sussex Priest and Organist Deny Sex Abuse Charges
By Ben James
March 14, 2013
|Father Keith Wilkie Denford arrives at Hove Crown Court
|Church organist Michael Mytton arrives at Hove Crown Court
A Church of England priest is accused of using his position to groom and sexually abuse young boys with the help of his organist.
Father Keith Wilkie Denford, 78, is accused of breaching the trust of the parents of two boys by molesting them over 18 months from when they were about 13.
His organist at St John the Evangelist Church in Burgess Hill, Michael Mytton, 68, is said to have assisted him.
Hove Crown Court was told yesterday (March 13) that Denford used the respectability of his cassock to get to the youngsters.
Prosecutor Marcus Fletcher told the jury that on one occasion, the priest got into a bath with one of the boys while aroused.
On another occasion he is said to have pressed himself up against a boy intimately and said: “How nice it is to have a cuddle.”
Following a meal at a restaurant in Cuckfield, Denford is accused of asking Mytton to pull the car over in a layby where he molested the boy.
Mr Fletcher said Mytton had also told the boy he wanted to have sex with him.
He said: “Mytton would buy him gifts, all with one aim in mind – to abuse him.”
The court was told that Denford held a dinner party at his house where the boys were asked to be waiters.
After the guests went home, the boys were given alcohol and Denford got in the bath with one of the boys.
Mr Fletcher said: “This was the boy’s first sexual experience – and it was with a vicar.
“This was extremely upsetting and confusing.”
It was arranged that the boys would stay the night. Mr Fletcher said this was so Denford could abuse them both without the other being a witness.
He added that one of the two boys recalled blowing the whistle about the abuse to a vicar but nothing was done until last year, when police were alerted by one of them.
In a police interview, Denford said the allegations were “absolute lies” and “complete fantasy”.
Mytton told police that he was “not really” attracted to children.
But when pressed he told officers: “They are lovely...there is so much beauty...as long as you don’t let it take over.”
Denford, of Broad Reach Mews, Shoreham, denies four counts of indecent assault between January 1987 and January 1990.
Mytton, of South Road, East Chiltington, denies one count of aiding and abetting indecent assault and five counts of indecent assault between January 1987 and September 1994.
The trial continues.