Sutton Man Jailed for Using His Position As a Priest to Sexually Abuse "Vulnerable" 10-year-old Boy
By Sarah George
February 22, 2018
A pensioner from Sutton has been jailed after a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy while he worked as a priest in the late 1980s.
Ifor Whittaker, 73, currently of Rectory Road, Sutton, denied committing seven offences against the "vulnerable" young boy, but was found guilty following a nine-day trial.
Whittaker, previously known as Colin Pritchard before a legal name change, used his position of power at an East Sussex vicarage to abuse the boy.
He would spike the boy's drinks with alcohol before sexually assaulting him, then urge him not to speak out about his experiences, Lewes Crown Court heard.
The investigation into Whittaker's crimes began in 2012, when police followed up information from the Diocese of Chichester that the victim may have been sexually assaulted by Roy Cotton, then vicar of nearby Brede, who died in 2006, and that Whittaker, known to be a close friend of Cotton, might also have been involved.
When questioned by police, the victim, whose anonymity is protected, described being assaulted by Cotton but denied that Whittaker ever abused him.
In 2014, the victim finally admitted to officers that he had not told them the full story and described how he was "passed over [from Cotton to Whittaker] like a toy to be borrowed by a friend".
|Ifor Whittaker (Image: Sussex Police)|
To begin with he was only abused by Cotton but sometimes felt that they were being watched, with Whittaker appearing in the room almost immediately afterwards, the man told police.
Whittaker then invited the boy to come to Sedlescombe under the guise of doing some gardening, often taken there by Cotton.
Officers charged Whittaker with seven offences against the boy, who was then aged between 10 and 14, between February 1987 and February 1991.
Whittaker, who had served five years in prison after admitting to sexual offences against two young boys whilst he was a vicar in Wellingborough during the 1980s in 2008, denied the charges.
But a jury found him guilty of two offences of inciting the boy to commit an act of gross indecency; two offences of gross indecency; two offences of buggery and one count of conspiracy with Cotton to commit acts of indecency with the boy.
He was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Thursday morning (February 22).
Commenting on the sentence, Detective Constable Chris Smith of the Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said: “The victim, now a man in his forties, was a vulnerable child when Whittaker took cynical advantage of him for his own sexual gratification.
"The victim told us that Cotton, although his principal abuser, 'passed me over like a toy to be borrowed by a friend'.
“We are glad that Whittaker has finally faced justice, and we have ensured that the victim, who gave evidence in court, has had access to sources of advice, counselling and support."