Sussex

Sussex priest and organist guilty of child abuse

  • 5 April 2013
  • From the section Sussex
Father Keith Wilkie Denford and Michael Mytton
Image caption Father Keith Wilkie Denford and Michael Mytton had denied the charges

A retired Church of England priest and a church organist have been found guilty of abusing teenage boys.

Father Keith Wilkie Denford, 78, from Shoreham-by-Sea, was found guilty at Hove Crown Court on three charges of indecently assaulting two boys.

Michael Mytton, 68, from East Chiltington, East Sussex, was found guilty on three charges. Both denied abusing the boys between 1987 and 1990.

The judge said the pair had committed "a grave breach of trust".

Police were alerted in 2012 when one of Denford's victims, who is now in his 30s, discovered he was still in contact with children.

The court was told Denford, who was the vicar of St John the Evangelist Church in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, used his position to groom two teenage boys.

On one occasion he got into a bath with one of the boys while aroused, the court heard.

Jurors were told on another occasion he pressed himself up against a boy with the words: "How nice it is to have a cuddle."

'I like boys'

Image caption Father Keith Wilkie Denford worked as a vicar at a church in Burgess Hill

Denford was found not guilty of abusing a boy in the back of Mytton's Jaguar car.

Mytton, of South Road, was also found not guilty of aiding and abetting the alleged assault. He was found guilty on three separate counts of abusing a third boy between 1990 and 1994.

The victim told the court that Mytton had taken him to a dinner party as his "plus one".

The jury was told that in 1981 Mytton was convicted of two counts of gross indecency with a 12-year-old boy.

The court heard that after his arrest on the latest claims he said: "I like boys, I know I like boys and it has cost me everything."

Denford and Mytton were released on bail and will be sentenced on 2 May.

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