Former Isle of Wight Vicar Jailed for Sex Offences

Isle of Wight County Press
July 25, 2015

Former Vicar of Newport Canon Stephen Palmer who has been jailed for sex offences against a 17 year old during the 1970s. Picture by Jennifer Burton.

THE former vicar of Newport, Canon Stephen Palmer, has been jailed for three years and three months for sexual assaults on a 17-year-old girl in the 1970s.

During one assault, Palmer told his victim that no-one would believe her if she told them what he had done.

At a sentencing hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court today (Friday), Palmer stared impassively as he was jailed for six offences of sexual assault against the teenager.

He had denied all the charges, but was convicted by a jury on May 15 following a trial, also at Portsmouth.

At the time of the offences, Palmer was a curate at a church in Stubbington, Hampshire, having previously served in the Royal Navy Reserve as a chaplain.

He went on to become a Canon, and was appointed as vicar of Newport on the Isle of Wight and held the honorary position of Chaplain to the Queen. On several occasions he welcomed members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, to Newport Minster.

Now retired, Palmer, 68, of Fintray, Aberdeen, abused the girl at a house he shared with his wife and two children, after her father had sent her to him to help her study for an A-Level in religious education.

On one occasion, Palmer forced her to lie down on a bench while he lay on top of her. Another time he pushed himself against her and she thought she was going to be raped.

Palmer, who touched her in intimate places, told her there was nothing she could do about it because no-one would believe her.

The court heard her experiences had led to her having drug and alcohol problems at university and in a victim impact statement she said Palmer's actions continued to affect her greatly.

She said she no longer trusted the church, could not practice her faith and felt Palmer had taken away her relationship with her father.

For Palmer, Pierce Power, said his client continued to deny the offences.

"This is a very sad day for Stephen Palmer and a very sad day for his family as a whole. He says his life’s work to help people has been wasted. He feels his life is in tatters," he said








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