Vicar jailed for passing abused child around ‘like a toy’

Ifor Whittaker, previously Colin Pritchard, was convicted of abusing a boy from the age of 10 until he was 16

A former Anglican priest described as ‘disgusting and despicable’ has been jailed for sexually abusing a child with another vicar. 

Ifor Whittaker, previously Colin Pritchard, was convicted of abusing a boy from the age of 10 until he was 16.   

The court heard how the twisted 73-year-old conspired with a fellow vicar Roy Cotton, who has since died, to commit sex acts.   

Whittaker, from south London, was jailed for 16 years after a hearing at Hove Crown Court. 

He was told he will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison. He is already a registered sex offender for life after a previous conviction.   

The BBC reported Judge Paul Tain described the priest’s behaviour as ‘disgraceful, disgusting and despicable’,

He said: ‘It was an obvious and clear case of grooming, where he carefully manipulated a vulnerable child.’

Whittaker had ‘attempted to bamboozle, cheat and mislead the jury’, the judge said.

The court heard how Whittaker plied the vulnerable child with alcohol and emotionally blackmailed him, telling him: ‘No one will believe you over a priest’. 

The victim described how he would be abused by Cotton, the vicar of Brede in Sussex, and Whittaker would enter the room shortly after.    

The victim said he was ‘passed like a toy’ and felt he was being borrowed from Cotton by Whittaker.

Sussex Police’s Complex Abuse Unit received full co-operation from the Diocese of Chichester throughout the investigations. T

hese investigations came as part of Operation Perry, which saw three other priests from the diocese convicted for sexual offences against young boys and men. 

Detective Constable Chris Smith of Sussex Police Complex Abuse Unit said: ‘The victim, now a man in his 40s, 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.’

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: ‘Following our investigations, and a trial over nine days, Ifor Whittaker, previously known as Colin Pritchard, was convicted of and sentenced at Hove Crown Court for seven offences against the boy, who was then aged between 10 and 14, between February 1987 and February 1991.

‘They were two offences of inciting the boy to commit an act of gross indecency; two offences of gross indecency; two offences of buggery, and of conspiracy with another local vicar, Roy Cotton (since deceased), to commit acts of indecency with the boy.

‘He was sentenced to a total of 16 years imprisonment.’