June 2017

Eight-and-a-half years for retired Methodist minister from Bedale who hypnotised and abused boys

A retired Methodist minister who used hypnosis on four boys before abusing them is today starting an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

John Price, 82, was told by a judge that he had cynically targeted vulnerable youngsters to whom he should have shown compassion and caring.

Two of the pervert’s victims bravely read their impact statements in court and told how the abuse has affected their mental health and relationships.

One said his faith had been shattered by what happened, and described as “a sick ploy” the hypnosis Price had offered to help him relax for exams.

The second explained how he has great difficult in trusting people, and told the court: “I still have deep suspicions of people’s motives around me.”

Price, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of 13 charges of indecent assault in the 1970s and 1980 after a trial last month.

The minister was prevented from using his title Reverend after he was convicted of a similar offence in 1999.

Judge Howard Crowson told him yesterday: “The four separate victims represent years of abuse.

“It was inevitable that the jury would conclude that these four individual accounts from men who had suffered and continue to suffer from your offending against them.”

Price, a widower who walks with a white stick and is cared for by his daughter, appeared in court via a live video-link from Holme House Prison, Stockton.

He fashioned ways of being alone with the boys, who were aged between 11 and 17, then he indecently assaulted them, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He claimed he could help them with stress, physical or emotional pain and used a cloak or blanket in the hypnosis technique.

Attacks happened at his manse, in the vestry or at the boys’ homes when he was a minister in York and nearby Pocklington.

None of the victims said they were actually hypnotised but they froze in surprise and horror at what the respected church leader was doing, the jury heard.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said Price used hypnosis believing the boys would not remember what happened to them while in a trance.

At the end of their session, and after being abused, Price would tell his victims: “If you find yourself about to mention what we do, you will stop, your mind will go blank, and you will forget what you were about to say, and move onto something else.”

When one of the victims complained to a senior church figure, who has since died, he was told not to be “silly” and the matter was brushed aside.

May 2017

Methodist minister found guilty of abusing boys under hypnosis

A retired Methodist minister has been found guilty of using hypnosis on four boys and indecently assaulting them.

John Price, 82, from North Yorkshire, tried to put the boys into a trance before molesting them when he worked in York and Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

He denied all 13 counts of indecent assault on the boys, then aged between 11 and 17, from the 1970s and 80s.

Price, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, is due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on 13 June.

He was remanded in custody and told he will face a jail term.

The trial heard he attacked two youths while he was at York Methodist Church, and the other two while he was a minister in Pocklington.

Jurors heard the boys were offered hypnosis to help with stress and pain before being assaulted.

Price sometimes used a blanket, or cloak, as part of his technique, while telling one boy to hold a 50p piece until he dropped it, believing then his victim was in a trance.

Price told the jury he had done nothing to be ashamed of and had said he did not know how to hypnotise anybody.